Conservatorships Vs. Guardianship, what are the Differences?

Difference Between Conservatorships and Guardianships

Understanding the difference between conservatorship and guardianship is challenging. Which do you need? Which would best serve your family and loved ones? We’ve got an essential guide to conservatorships vs. guardianships.


Conservatorships handle the financial affairs of a living person. The goal is to protect both the individual and their assets when they are unable to manage them alone and can’t make informed decisions that are in their best interests. The conservator that oversees the finances is accountable to the courts to act on the best interest of the individual and their estate.


Like conservatorships, guardianships work to assist an individual when they are not able to manage their personal welfare. However, where a conservatorship focuses on the financial assets, a guardianship handles all other personal matters for the individual, including healthcare decisions, living and wellness issues, personal care, and mental health concerns.

When to Use Which

It’s not always up to a loved one or family member to determine conservatorship vs. guardianship. That’s where the courts come in. A judge is responsible for determining which is best for the individual based on many factors. They’ll determine what they feel will most closely meet the person’s needs while considering the circumstances that created the need for oversight.

One thing is clear when caring for someone who can’t care for themselves – you need a reliable and compassionate attorney on your side. Ensuring the protection of your loved one while navigating the legal system and what’s required can be overwhelming. Contact the experienced lawyers at McCutchen McLean, LLC to learn more about these two options and which is best.

Understanding Estate Administration and What to do with Someone’s Estate

understanding estate administration

There is a lot of business to attend to when a loved one dies, not the least of which is understanding estate administration. During the emotional upheaval that comes with this loss, being the executor is an added task that can be both an honor and a burden. However, we’ve got some simple guidance to help you navigate the process.

What is Estate Administration?

When a person dies, someone must handle their affairs, including managing assets, property, and belongings. All these things are part of their estate, and managing their distribution is estate administration. Therefore, to be the executor of someone else’s estate is to be their estate administrator.

How to Settle Someone’s Estate

If the individual dies with a will, the executor follows those instructions and wishes in handling the property. The estate management follows South Carolina law if there is no will. Things an executor is responsible for include:

  • Paying or settling any outstanding debt
  • Paying estate taxes
  • Filing paperwork
  • Locating and protecting all estate assets
  • Identifying beneficiaries and heirs of the deceased, including those named in the will
  • Distributing financial assets, property, and belongings to those beneficiaries and heirs

Why Legal Assistance is Essential

When a person dies with property and assets, whether they have a will or not, a battle over those things is sometimes inevitable. Understanding the ins and outs of estate administration is critical to handling your loved one’s affairs with compassion and care, but it’s also the key to avoiding a fight over what they left behind. Having a legal team on your side will help you understand and get through the process. Additionally, they will represent you in the courts, guide you through the legal system, and help you avoid additional legal battles while ensuring the upholding of your loved one’s wishes and honoring their memory.

The trusted legal team at McCutchen McLean LLC has extensive experience in estate administration. Contact them today for a free consultation and the thoughtful guidance you need during this challenging time.

3 Common Types of Employment Disputes And What You Can Do About Them

employment disputes

You could benefit from speaking with an employment lawyer if you’re dealing with an employment dispute. No matter which side you’re on, when issues arise between an employee and an employer, sometimes the best approach is to address them through the legal system. Here are three of the most common types of employment disputes and what you can do about them.

#1: Wrongful Termination

South Carolina is an at-will state, which means an employer can terminate an employee without cause and for any reason. The at-will status also means it’s hard to prove wrongful termination. However, there are specific instances when you can prove wrongful termination and take legal action, including discrimination based on gender, race, religion, and age. Retaliation laws are also in place to protect employees from firing based on a retaliatory act.

#2: Wage Dispute

When an employer fails to compensate an employee for their work and time properly, this can lead to a wage dispute. The issue over lack of compensation often arises from lack of overtime pay, holiday pay, earned tips, allowing for breaks, and paying under minimum wage.

#3: Harassment and Discrimination

Harassment and discrimination suits are common in employment disputes. They can encompass everything from unfair treatment, harassment, and lack of accommodation based on sexual orientation, gender, religion, race, age, disability, and pregnancy, among others.

Whether you’re an employer or an employee, legal representation during an employment dispute can make all the difference in the outcome. Our team is here to help. Contact McCutchen McLean, LLC today.

3 Frequently Asked Questions About Alimony

alimony payment

What do you know about alimony? We’ve got the FAQs you’ve been looking for.

Alimony is a sticky subject, but it’s a primary factor in divorce cases. It can be confusing and hard to navigate, so we’ve compiled a list of the three most common FAQs to help you understand how alimony works in South Carolina.

#1: How Does the Court Determine Alimony and Calculate the Amount?

There are some factors a family court judge considers when determining who will pay alimony and how much. Of course, each case is unique and requires consideration, but this list is some of what goes into their decision.

  • The length of the marriage
  • If the individuals need education and training post-divorce to earn a reasonable income
  • If the individuals are physically and mentally able to work
  • Employment status, where they work, for how long, and their current income
  • The living expenses of each individual
  • Property owned by the couple during the marriage
  • Child custody
  • If there was marital misconduct such as adultery or abuse

#2: Is Alimony Granted in Every Divorce?

There is no guarantee of alimony in any divorce. A judge must deem it necessary to grant it. They do so on a case-by-case basis depending on the needs of each party and the circumstances in the marriage and the divorce. Things such as earning potential, education and training, child custody, and marital misconduct can determine whether the courts grant alimony payments.

#3: Do Alimony Payments Ever Stop?

Some factors determine when alimony payments stop. They include the death of the payor or the payee, expiration of the alimony term, remarriage of the person receiving payments, or modification of the alimony agreement as approved by a judge.

Do you still have questions about how alimony works? Our team of experienced lawyers can help. Contact McCutchen McLean, LLC for legal support and guidance when you’re going through a divorce.

A Living Trust Can Help You Avoid Probate. Here’s How.

Living Trust & Estate Planning

Do you know how to avoid probate when a loved one dies? Here’s how a living trust can help.

Do you have a living trust? Probate can be a nightmare, especially after the loss of a loved one, but a living trust can help you avoid it. Here’s what you need to know about how to avoid probate.

What is a Living Trust?

In the simplest terms, a living trust, created by an individual during their lifetime, is a document designating a trustee for their estate. The trustee manages the assets for the individual and is responsible for transferring those assets to the beneficiary or beneficiaries upon their death and according to their wishes.

What is Probate?

Probate is the legal process overseen by the court system that works to administer the estate of a deceased individual. They work to pay off the individual’s debts before transferring assets and property to their beneficiaries. If there is a will, the courts authenticate it before proceeding and allowing the executor to distribute assets. They follow the state process for managing probate if there isn’t a will.

Will a Living Will Trust Help Avoid Probate?

The courts freeze a deceased individual’s assets during the probate process, meaning your heirs cannot access any property or funds until probate is complete. Fortunately, the assets included in your living trust are not subject to the probate process. The trust and not the estate owns the assets, and therefore, they are exempt from probate, and the trustee can distribute them immediately upon the person’s death or as per their instructions and wishes.

Avoiding probate is one way to protect your family, and a living trust is one of the best ways to do so. It will protect you and your assets while you’re living and when you’re gone. To find out more and to get started on the creation of your trust, contact McCutchen McLean, LLC, today.

Custody Battle 101: 5 Things that Can Hurt Your Case

child custody

What do you need to do to prepare for a custody battle? Discover 5 things that can potentially hurt your case and how to navigate the process successfully.

If you are preparing for a custody battle, you may be looking for tips to navigate the process successfully. Dealing with child custody issues can be overwhelming. And for most parents, it’s new territory. It makes sense to learn as much as you can about how the process works, so you can do everything possible to achieve an optimal outcome for the sake of your children and family.

Keep reading to discover five things that can potentially hurt your case so you can avoid them as you go forward.

Mistake #1: Discussing child custody issues with your children.

Mistake #2: Sharing details about the custody battle or other parent on social media.

Mistake #3: Cutting off the other parent from the children.

Mistake #4: Making important decisions about the kids without checking in with the other parent (unless you have a court order).

Mistake #5: Keeping information about your children or their activities from the other parent.

Although there are exceptions, in most cases, it will be best to avoid these five actions. Why? Because they can impact how the court views your role as a parent. A judge might view these behaviors as vindictive or not in the children’s best interests. When possible, even when the rest of your case is contested, attempting to co-parent is favored by the courts, and it is essential to portray yourself in the best, most responsible light.

Choose McCutchen McLean, LLC, to Navigate Your Custody Battle

Our Lexington child custody attorneys can help you handle child custody issues correctly—so you can avoid common mistakes. We provide experienced counsel and representation to ensure you present your best self to the court. Contact McCutchen McLean, LLC, to discuss how we can help you achieve favorable results for your custody battle.



James McCutchen drafted our estate planning documents and he did a fantastic job. The entire process was easy and affordable. I highly recommend James for any of your estate planning or probate needs.



James McCutchen helped me with my business contract for my new business venture. He was able to offer helpful and informative suggestions and recommendations for my contract. It is reassuring to have someone like James look over my contract to know that I will be covered. His service was outstanding and I highly recommend him for your legal needs!!



I recently had a tax issue with the IRS. I called McCutchen McClean law firm and they were able to fit me in quickly. They sat down with me, reviewed all the documents, listened to my concerns, and gave me wonderful advice as to how to fix the issue. They were friendly and understanding. Now, my tax issue is resolved, taking a HUGE weight off my mind. I would recommend them for any tax issue you may have! The service, hospitality, knowledge, and professionalism was outstanding!



We recently used James McCutchen and we could not be any happier! He was very kind, thorough when answering all of our questions and the best part of all we got everything completed pretty quickly. We highly recommend James. Thanks again for everything!



I have referred several clients to them. My clients are very happy with the outstanding, timely service they receive. James and Robin are extremely smart and professional, yet speak in "plain english" so everyone walks away educated regarding their tax, estate or family law issue.



Smart people that do great work.



I used Robin McLean as an attorney to secure a divorce about 20 months ago. I found her to be efficient, reasonably priced, and very well skilled. I was completely happy with her work. She did what she said. Since that time, I needed additional help with paperwork and she responded promptly and to my complete satisfaction. I highly recommend Robin as an attorney.


! NOTICE ! No Legal Advice Intended. This website includes general information about legal issues and developments in the law. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and must not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You need to contact a lawyer licensed in your jurisdiction for advice on specific legal issues problems.