Marriage Equality Arrives in South Carolina

The U.S. Supreme Court will not allow South Carolina to delay issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples any further. This morning SCOTUS denied S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson’s request to stay a federal ruling that South Carolina’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. South Carolina officials took a new tact, attempting to persuade the Court that the federal courts lacked jurisdiction to rule on “domestic relations” issues. Apparently the argument did not matter enough to the majority of the justices.  As a result of the U.S. Supreme Court’s denying the request to postpone the effect of the federal judge’s order, same-sex marriages are legal in South Carolina as of noon today and we should see same-sex marriage licenses issued by county probate court offices around the state. It remains to be seen just how rapidly individual Clerk’s Offices will actually issue licenses when applied for.

It is important to note that SCOTUS ruled only on the issue of whether to postpone the federal judge’s ruling; it did not rule on the validity of the ruling. It is possible that SCOTUS will take up a case raising the question of whether the states’ even have the power to ban same-sex marriages in the first place.

As Family Law, Estate Planning, and Probate attorneys, we have been preparing for this momentous day and the various and substantial implications it will have for our clients.

Property Tax Appeals

Berkeley County residents will soon receive notice from the County that the appraised value of nearly 27,000 properties will increase by more than $1,000 for purposes of calculating property tax assessments.  For some, the potential increase in their tax bill will be minimal, despite the alleged increase in property value.  Others, however, could see their property tax bills rise dramatically.

Some residents may disagree with these new assessments, but don’t realize they can appeal the tax assessment. Failing to appeal a bad appraisal can cost a property owner thousands, and sometimes tens of thousands, of dollars in excess taxes.

If the property owner receives the notice and believes that the County has overvalued the property, the owner must send a written notice to the County objecting to the newly appraised value within 90 days of the County’s notice being mailed.  If the owner does not send notice of the objection within the ninety-day period, they forfeit their right to appeal the incorrect value.

Appealing a property tax assessment is a very strict process.  Missing a deadline or failing to gather the proper evidence to support the property owner’s objections can result in a costly mistake.  A property owner simply writing to the County that they disagree with the value assigned to their property will likely lose their appeal.  However, property owners who take the time to research property values around them, obtain appraisals when necessary, and who fully document the reasons why their property is not as valuable as the County believes, will stand a good chance of receiving a reduction in the appraised value from the County, which means a reduction in the amount of taxes the owner will have to pay for the next four years.

If you are faced with a reassessment notice and are not sure what to do, have tried to appeal a value but have not been successful, or simply have questions, you should seek legal counsel.  Whether you’re making the initial objection to the County, representing a property owner before the Board of Assessment Appeals, or litigating the appeal, the attorneys at Hart Hyland Shepherd, LLC, are experienced in the property tax appeals process and are ready and willing to help.  Please contact our partner, Andy Shepherd, for a free consultation to discuss your options.


Greg & Kate work together to suit the needs of their clients.  Continue reading “Teamwork!” »

Greg is here to help

Gregory Hyland is here to represent those coping with domestic and family legal issues in preparing for and resolving each matter.


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If you aren’t expecting roses…

If you aren’t expecting roses and chocolates on Valentine’s Day, don’t worry, you are not alone! Continue reading “If you aren’t expecting roses…” »

Topical Discussion 1 – The National Firearms Act Gun Trust

We are excited to present the first in our series of topical discussions on current, relevant issues and events.

In this launch presentation, Andrew Shepherd explains the benefits and uses of the National Firearms Act Gun Trust and how our clients and their heirs can benefit from his knowledge and services.

Continue reading “Topical Discussion 1 – The National Firearms Act Gun Trust” »

Small Business Tax Burden

While developers, businesses and commercial property owners have seen revenues and property values decrease over the past few years, their property tax burdens have actually increased on a dramatic scale.

Continue reading “Small Business Tax Burden” »

Divorce Among Baby Boomers on the Rise

Divorce among those over 50, otherwise known as ‘grey divorce’, is on the rise. These types of divorce face unique issues including, estate planning, redrafting wills, pension division, healthcare, and restructuring family businesses.  Continue reading “Divorce Among Baby Boomers on the Rise” »

Resolve to have Andy protect your Legacy in 2013




We are proud to announce that Hart Hyland Shepherd, LLC will open it’s door on September 4th, 2012. With attorneys experienced in multiple areas of litigation, we can approach your case from multiple angles and we  are ready to take your case all the way.