The Most Common Issues That Come Up During Probate, & How to Avoid Them

last will and testament probate

Does the probate process have to be complicated and stressful? It really doesn’t. While some common problems can arise during probate, having qualified legal representation and a basic understanding of how the process works can help you avoid conflict and hassles.

If you are trying to figure out how to move forward confidently through probate, consider two common issues and tips to avoid them.

Top Two Common Probate Problems

#1: Disputes between Family Members about Estate Distribution

When there are disputes between family members about the distribution of assets to beneficiaries and heirs, things can get complicated quickly. Hiring a qualified probate attorney can ensure you have legal guidance and someone to advise the personal representative or estate executor. The attorney’s services may include finding lost estate assets, managing proceeds from life insurance, handling creditor claims, documentation and paperwork, and more.

#2: No Will or a Will with Unclear Intent

When there is no will or the will does not have clear intent about estate distribution, obtaining the services of a probate attorney is crucial. An attorney will help you navigate the state’s probate code and local probate process for scenarios in which there is no will. The attorney can also provide assistance to either challenge the will’s validity or prove the document is valid—depending on your position, the facts of the situation, and the probate code.

Do you need to find an experienced Lexington probate attorney to help you successfully proceed through the probate process? Contact the legal team at McCutchen McLean, LLC, to avoid the hassles of probate.

4 Common Reasons Couples Separate Instead of Divorce

divorce or separation

If your marriage is on the rocks and seems headed toward dissolution, it’s vital to understand divorce vs. separation. There are advantages as well as repercussions to either choice. Here are four common reasons couples separate first instead of going straight to divorce.

#1: Time for Potential Reconciliation

There are many reasons that marriages can feel strained, where one feels the only possible relief can come from divorce. One of the benefits of separation before divorce is that it allows time for potential healing and possible reconciliation. Sometimes time apart is just what’s needed for a couple to reconnect.

#2: Financial Benefits

Many married couples have intermingled finances from their life together. Divorce will create the need to sever those financial ties; a process that can be contentious and tedious. A separation allows time to work through some of the details of your finances and budget before deciding if divorce is inevitable.

#3: Maintaining Benefits

Many times, benefits such as health, dental, and life insurance can’t continue for a family after a divorce, or become unaffordable. To maintain those benefits while also navigating the end of a marriage, it’s often beneficial to separate while resolving those financial issues.

#4: Preparation for Divorce

Though there are many reasons for a separation before a divorce, one of the most common is that it allows for preparation time. A divorce can be complex, emotional, and overwhelming. Separation gives time and breathing room to plan how things can and should proceed. It creates a starting point for the spouse and the children to learn the new normal without the pressure of rushing to divide assets, or create final orders of monumental importance.

Though South Carolina does not recognize “legal separation”, details regarding support, child custody and visitation, preservation of assets, and restraining orders can be put in place by the courts until you decide to move forward with a divorce. An order of Separate Support and Maintenance will not end the marriage, but it can make life easier for everyone involved, or at least detail your rights and obligations as you contemplate a divorce.

For the legal help you need when navigating divorce vs. separation, contact McCutchen McLean, LLC.

When Do I Need a Business Law Attorney?

business lawyer

Do you need a business law attorney? If you’re a business owner, it might seem like an unnecessary expense, but it can also save your company should a legal issue arise. Here are some situations when you might need a business law attorney.

Lawsuit Protection

Is someone suing you? A lawsuit can come up for any number of reasons. It could be a former employee filing a discrimination, hostile work environment, or wrongful termination suit. On the other hand, it could be a customer or client suing you for personal injury, breach of contract, or misleading marketing. Even if the lawsuits are frivolous, you still need an attorney to represent you and protect you and your business.

Drafting Contracts

You know your business better than anyone, so it might seem natural to assume you can write up contracts that protect you. However, there are legalities that you might not be aware of. Therefore, it’s critical to have a business lawyer help you with drafting and negotiating contracts to ensure your legal protection.

Compliance Issues

You might not know about every state and federal requirement and regulation when it comes to running your business, but a business lawyer does. Everything from incorporation to building property, from paying taxes to providing products and services out of state, there are regulations your business must comply with or face serious ramifications.

You might not need a business law attorney every day, but protecting your business should be your number one priority. When the time comes that you need legal representation or a business lawyer for guidance and advice, contact the trusted and experienced team at McCutchen McLean, LLC.

5 Ways An Attorney Can Ease The Pain Of Divorce

divorce attorney meeting with client

Even in the best of circumstances, if a divorce is in your future, you need a divorce attorney. Good legal representation is critical to help protect yourself, but it’s also vital for your mental and emotional well-being. We’ll show you five ways an attorney can ease the pain of divorce.

#1: Your Rights

The number one way a divorce lawyer can help you is by helping protect your rights through the process. Your lawyer will work for your best interests, from reaching an acceptable settlement, to property division and custody, to preparing you for trial.

#2: Legal Process

Trying to navigate the complex legal system during your divorce may increase your stress and anxiety at your most vulnerable time. Your attorney’s job is to know and understand the legal process, so you don’t have to. They will guide you through the proper steps from the beginning separation to the final judgment.

#3: Division of Assets and Property

Splitting up the things that make up a marriage can be one of the most emotional parts of a divorce. Understandably, the division of assets and property can lead to contention during the divorce process. Determining what is and is not marital property can also be a source of conflict. A divorce attorney will work with you to ensure a fair division.

#4: Parental Rights and Custody

The most important part of your divorce concerns your children. Hammering out parental rights and obligations can be the most emotional and taxing part of the process. Without a family court lawyer, you may not understand what the family courts of South Carolina deem appropriate parenting time, decision making authority, and child support. A good divorce attorney can help explain the nuances of custody and child support during this difficult phase of a separation or divorce.

#5: Loose Ends

When your divorce is final in the courts, there may be additional items that need to be wrapped up, such as final distribution of assets, transfer of property and debt, name changes, and insurance beneficiary changes, to name a few. Your attorney can help you tie up these loose ends to avoid post-decree misunderstandings, allowing you to move forward with this new phase of your life.

Life is complicated enough. Don’t try to manage a divorce and all the mental and emotional weight that goes with it by yourself. Contact the legal team at McCutchen McLean, LLC, to help ease the pain of your divorce.

Probate Is Rarely Easy. Here’s How An Attorney Can Help…

probate law attorney

Probate is the process of administering a person’s estate once they’ve passed away, and hiring a probate attorney is one of the most important things you can do. If you’re facing probate of a loved one’s estate, here’s how an attorney can help.

Reduce Family Fighting

Everyone assumes their family won’t fight about money when someone passes, but the elevated emotions and upset can lead to disputes even in the closest families. A probate attorney can help minimize the conflict and work to resolve any disagreements.

Reduce Stress

Handling the probate process on your own can be incredibly stressful and complicated. Understanding the legal ins and outs of the probate system can make all the difference in the outcome, timing, and stress on you and your family. That’s where an attorney comes in. Having them on your team will reduce everyone’s stress, including your own.

Quicker Resolution

Administering an estate without legal representation can draw out the process and take significantly longer than it might otherwise. A probate lawyer can help expedite it through the courts efficiently simply by understanding the process and what needs to be done. You can focus on your family and recovering from your loss while your attorney represents you, your family, and your best interests.

Protecting your loved one’s assets after they pass away is an essential aspect of the probate process. Protecting you and your family is your attorney’s job. The team at McCutchen McLean, LLC has extensive knowledge and experience with the South Carolina probate system. Contact us today to find out how we can help your family.

Divorce, Annulment, Or Separation: What’s The Difference?

A pair of scissors cutting apart a cardboard man and woman holding hands.

If your marriage is in the process of unraveling, you’re not alone, but it’s important to know what you’re facing if headed toward divorce. While it’s an emotionally driven process, knowing the difference between divorce, annulment, and separation will benefit you.


Separation is a common term for a marriage that’s in trouble. It’s a way to test the waters of being apart, work on reconciliation, or stay apart for a full year to qualify for a no-fault divorce. However, in South Carolina, the courts don’t recognize “separation” as a legal term. A married couple can separate, live in separate homes, separate their finances, etc., but they are still considered legally married until they get a divorce. Couples can, however, seek maintenance, spousal support, during the separation by filing for an Order of Separate Support and Maintenance with the court.


In all states, divorce is the legal dissolution of a marriage. Therefore, the process must go through the court system to be legally binding. The courts recognize five different reasons for divorce in South Carolina, including physical cruelty, abandonment, adultery, habitual drunkenness, and no-fault. Once filed, a family court judge will preside over the case to help determine the conditions of dissolution and settlements.


Unlike a divorce which dissolves a valid marriage, an annulment indicates the end to a marriage that was not valid to begin with because of a condition that existed at the time of the “marriage”. Reasons the courts will consider annulling a marriage include:

·                Coercion to marry

·                Bigamy

·                Incest

·                Fraud

·                Mental incompetence

·                If one party was underage

·                Lack of cohabitation

No matter what, the end of a marriage can be a stressful, emotional, and often overwhelming time. Whether you know the best option for you or you need guidance to determine the right course of action, it’s critical to have an experienced legal team in your corner. If you’re considering separation, divorce, or annulment, contact the team at McCutchen McLean, LLC.



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