Mount Pleasant: 843.849.1500
About Our Firm
Todd & Johnson, L.L.P was founded in Columbia in 1980 by the late Al Todd and Steve Johnson with the goal of providing exceptional legal services in the areas of estate planning, trusts, and probate law. Today, our firm has offices in Columbia and Mount Pleasant and carries on the original vision of our founders by focusing on matters involving those same areas of law.
The complex nature of estate planning and probate law makes it almost a necessity for a lawyer practicing in these areas to specialize. The Supreme Court of South Carolina Commission on CLE and Specialization recognizes lawyers as specialists in certain areas of law, including estate planning and probate law. To be certified as a specialist in estate planning and probate law, a lawyer must demonstrate substantial involvement and competency in these areas, fulfill certain continuing legal education requirements, and pass an oral interview/examination as well as a written examination. Both Steve Johnson and Bill Reynolds are certified specialists in estate planning and probate law. They are also members of that American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC).
Our firm also assists clients with tax issues, and several lawyers at our firm have advanced degrees in tax law. Dawn Clark (Mount Pleasant office), Artie White (of counsel), and John McLeod all hold Master of Laws degrees in taxation. Jonathan Spitz is currently pursuing his Master of Laws degree in taxation.
The lawyers at our firm assist clients with their estate planning needs by advising clients on wills, revocable and irrevocable trusts, business succession issues, gifting strategies, tax issues, and other matters. We also assist clients with creating general powers of attorney, health care powers of attorney, and living wills. When estate planning clients call our office to set a first appointment, they are sent a package of information explaining the estate planning process, including a booklet written by Al Todd. Clients are also sent an estate analysis checklist, which should be completed prior to the first conference for estate planning. Because we bill hourly for most matters, completing the checklist and being organized at the time of the first conference saves us time and thus saves you money. There is no charge for the initial information mailed to clients.
Probate, Estate Administration, and Trust Administration
Our firm assists clients with all aspects of probate law and estate administration, including preparing and filing probate and tax forms and advising personal representatives on their duties and responsibilities. Much of the work of estate settlement can be done by the individual named as the personal representative; however, numerous opportunities for tax savings are easily overlooked without professional advice. Our firm may have broad or limited representation in assisting clients with estate administration and we will gladly work with a client’s accountant or other financial advisors.
Our firm also assists trustees with carrying out their duties and advises trust beneficiaries as to their rights under trust agreements. Like estate planning matters, probate matters, estate settlement, and trust administration questions are also generally handled on an hourly basis.
Our firm handles a number of tax issues ranging from preparation and advisement regarding the creation of Limited Liability Companies, Partnerships, non-profit organizations (including applying for and maintaining 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status) as well as advising clients on estate taxation, gift taxation, generation skipping transfer taxation, and federal and state income taxation issues (individual, corporate, partnership and fiduciary). Attorneys in our firm have prepared and handled the filing of United States Estate Tax Returns. Additionally, our attorneys have represented clients before the IRS, State Departments of Revenue, and federal courts in prosecuting and defending client’s tax returns, collection or payment of taxes, back-tax issues, and requesting Innocent Spouse Relief.