Frequently Asked Legal Questions

Question:

I heard that Ohio law changed making it easier to seal a criminal record.  Is that true?

Answer:

Yes.  In September of 2012, Ohio changed the requirements for eligibility to seal a criminal record.  Before the change, only a first time offender was eligible.  Now, a person with two unrelated misdemeanors or one unrelated misdemeanor and one felony can be considered eligible to apply.  Also, in some cases, unrelated crimes committed within a three month period may be counted as one, depending on the circumstance.  Even if you have been told previously that you were not eligible to have you record sealed, you should contact an attorney to see if the changes in the law will allow you to apply now for sealing your record.

Question:

I received a notice that my mortgage company has filed a foreclosure case against me, do I have to move out of my house now or will they come and change the locks?

Answer:

No, you do not need to move out of your house right away and no one will come to your house and change your locks.  In fact, the mortgage company does not want you to abandoned your house.  The foreclosure process takes several months, even if you do nothing.  You can stay in your home until the sheriff’s sale is completed and then negotiate with the bank’s agent for a move out date.  Sometimes, the bank will even give you money to help with your moving expenses in exchange for leaving the home in good condition when you move out.  This is commonly referred to as “Cash for Keys.” Also, you may still be able to keep your home.  You should consult an attorney as soon as you receive notice that a foreclosure case has been filed.

Question:

Should I have an attorney with me when I’m interviewed by law enforcement?

Answer:

Absolutely! You should always have an attorney with you when you are questioned by law enforcement. It is your right and you should not give up your rights. You have them for a reason. If law enforcement wants to question you about anything, you can have an attorney with you. Your desire to have an attorney cannot be used against you and doesn’t make you look guilty. It makes you smart. If you cannot afford to hire an attorney to be present with you when you are questioned, you can have an attorney appointed for you through the public defender. Just tell the police that you want an attorney present and then request a public defender. If you have a question you’d like answered by Attorney Linda Kendrick, you may submit it to kendrick.23@osu.edu. All submissions are confidential and viewed only by Attorney Kendrick.

Question:

I was told that I should settle my own personal injury claim, because an attorney will just take one-third of my the settlement I would have received on my own. Is this true?

Answer:

Statistically, when an injured person uses an attorney, the claim is settled for 2-3 times more than when a person deals directly with the insurance company. That means most of the time, you will receive more money than you would have on your own, even after the attorney takes their fee. Insurance adjusters want to settle your claim for as little as possible and are not concerned with your pain and suffering or your needs. Attorneys work for you, not the insurance company. An experienced personal injury attorney is familiar with how to value a claim and won’t allow the insurance company to cut corners on your loss. You should always have an attorney represent you in a personal injury claim. If you have a question you’d like answered by Attorney Linda Kendrick, you may submit it to kendrick.23@osu.edu. All submissions are confidential and viewed only by Attorney Kendrick.

Question:

Is there a way to transfer my property to my heirs without going through probate?

Answer:

Yes, if you want to be certain that a particular person receives your house or your financial accounts, you can accomplish it with transfer-on-death affidavits. For your bank accounts, talk to your bank and ask them how to set up your accounts to transfer on death. For real estate, you will need to file a “Transfer on Death Affidavit” with the county recorder’s office. An attorney can assist you with the preparation of the affidavit, usually at a minimal cost. If you have a question you’d like answered by Attorney Linda Kendrick, you may submit it to kendrick.23@osu.edu. All submissions are confidential and viewed only by Attorney Kendrick.