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Hottenroth, Garverick, Tilson & Garverick Law Blog

How will OVI affect you as a professional driver?

Let us say that you are a professional truck driver and have had a commercial driver’s license for more than a decade. You are looking forward to a raise in pay, but you were recently pulled over and arrested on suspicion of operating a vehicle impaired. How will a drunk driving conviction affect your job and your CDL?

A first offense

Swatting: the prank that's serious

Like many Ohio teens and young adults, your children love to play online games, spend time on social media and hang out with their friends. You don't find this particularly worrisome, since you taught your kids to make smart decisions regarding their activities with their peers. However, as you know, teenagers may take part in unwise behavior if it means fitting in, or they might not realize the potential ramifications of some activities.

Swatting is one such activity that may appear to be harmless, but has serious criminal penalties. You may remember an incident last December, in which a man from Wichita, Kansas, was killed after a California man called in a swatting prank. The event had long-lasting consequences, which are continuing today.

Can you modify an Ohio divorce order?

Your divorce is final, and you breathe a sigh of relief because you can now move forward with your life. However, life likes to throw curve balls. Unexpected changes are difficult enough but even more so after a divorce due to added complexity. You find that now your agreement no longer works for your situation. What can you do?

Fortunately, Ohio allows for post-divorce modification under certain circumstances. If you can show a substantial change that affects one of these areas, you may be able to petition the court to modify your divorce order to meet your new needs.

Is a will still valid even if heirs have changed names?

You may have written a will or gone through exhaustive estate planning, covering all your bases. You have backup beneficiaries designated, and quite a few backup plans in case Plan A falls through.

However, one thing you may wonder about is whether your will is still valid when your heirs and beneficiaries have different names than those listed in your documents. For example, perhaps two of your female heirs got married, and your will lists their maiden names only. Moreover, maybe one of your heirs came out as transgender after you drew up the will and has undergone a legal sex and name change. Or maybe you realize you misspelled a name. Is your will still valid?

5 infection-prevention steps for hospital patients

When going to a hospital here in north central Ohio for surgery or other treatment, you might experience a flurry of thoughts and emotions. You might have all kinds of hopes regarding how your treatment will go. You also may have some worries. This could include concerns about the possibility of developing an infection during your time at the hospital.

Choosing an estate plan executor

An estate plan is the optimal way to protect your family's financial security in the long term. It creates a map for handling your estate and distributing assets after you've passed. There are many ways to set up your will and testament to plan ahead. To make sure those carefully made plans happen, you'll need to carefully choose an executor to your estate. You can choose a primary executor, a back up, or a co-executor.

Should a lawyer be involved in my real estate closing?

Generally, the answer to this question is YES. Real estate closings typically can involve some of the largest dollar transactions in a person's life yet, it seems that many people avoid using lawyers in such transactions, and appear to be much more prone to use the services of lawyers in transactions involving far fewer dollars! Not only do we recommend that our clients discuss real estate transactions with their attorneys before entering into contracts to sell or buy real estate, we also recommend that they keep their attorneys involved until after the transactions are closed. Innumerable potential problems can arise, many of which will legitimately require advice or other services from a trained and licensed attorney. These can include, but certainly are not limited to the following: a problem with an easement, difficulties with tax liens, inaccurate legal descriptions, incorrectly executed documents to prior owners of the property, court orders affecting title to or the use of the property, restrictions on property use, entitlement to appliances located in the real estate, possession of window treatments, antennas and rotors, etc. And, even at closings issues can arise like inappropriate crediting of costs or expenses, improper charge backs, improper execution of documents, etc. I know I have said this before on a lot of occasions, but it seems to me that there are many people who are very quick to seek the services of a lawyer when they buy a relatively small item (like a vacuum cleaner, bicycle, used car, etc.) who are for some reason much more reluctant to consult lawyers with transactions as major as purchasing or selling a home. I think it makes good practical common sense generally for people to consult lawyers when they are contemplating engaging in real estate transactions, and through the process of acquisition and financing homes and land.

Am I properly protected when, after I sign a contract, I take it to my lawyer to review it?

That one is a loaded question in many ways. But, usually the answer to that is a big NO! All too often, once a contract has been signed, the terms have already been legally agreed upon, and are not subject to modification unless both parties agree. In fact, many times the agreement needs to be in writing before a modification is even enforceable. Generally speaking, the best way to avoid pitfalls related to early execution of documents, is to check with your legal counsel before you sign them!

Witnesses

The American justice system depends upon testimony of witnesses. Most testimony is handled orally, but there are some situations in which it is done in writing. If you have a case in which a lawyer is representing you, and you are a Plaintiff, Defendant, Movant, Respondent, etc., the odds are that you will need to be a witness in your own case. You will probably be requested to give oral testimony, which more often than not will involve you answering questions presented to you by lawyers on both sides of your case. If you are not a party in the case, you may still be called upon to answer questions as a non-party witness, to clarify the facts for the aid of the Court. You may be called as a witness by one side or the other, or in some cases both.If you receive a request to testify, it would be wise for you to discuss the matter with your own attorney to determine what your responsibilities, rights and obligations may be. When you testify in a Court proceeding, you will be under oath. You are required to tell the truth. It is not appropriate for you to guess, exaggerate, or to fabricate facts that don't exist. If you are asked a question that is not clear to you, it is generally permissible to ask for clarification. It is important that witnesses understand what is being requested.Always remember that a person who lies while giving Court testimony may be charged with the crime of perjury, which is quite serious.Sometimes witnesses are asked questions which are difficult, and which may lead one to anger. However, raising your voice at a lawyer or Judge in a Court proceeding, being critical of the Court or counsel, etc., is inappropriate. When testifying, you should always focus on the question and the answer, and tell the truth. If you don't know the answer, you should say so.Many people feel that they are being asked to go above and beyond the call of duty when they receive requests to testify. Sometimes, that may be the case. However, having the ability to question witnesses is one of the hallmarks of our legal system, and often is very necessary to the orderly administration of justice in America.Many times, acting as a witness can be a very responsible thing for an American citizen to do. If in doubt about your rights or your obligations, we suggest that you should consult your attorney.

Question: I hired a lawyer in the hope that she would be able to get my case settled, but she hasn't. Does this mean she is doing a bad job?

Well, I have heard this sort of thing before. And what is interesting is that sometimes I have heard the following sorts of inconsistent statements come from the same person: "My lawyer keeps charging me to attend more and more depositions and hearings and is doing more and more work;" "My lawyer wants me to settle for less than I think I should receive." Frankly, these sorts of comments are a lot more typical than one might assume. I have seen a lot of people take unreasonable settlement positions and demand that their attorneys hold tight without "giving in" in negotiations. And, those same people act almost as if they are surprised when the lawyer is not able to settle the case on what may appear to the lawyer to be an unfair position to begin with. Then, when the lawyer has to do a lot of additional work to have the case litigated, the client is upset. A case can only settle when both sides agree, and if they don't agree, the logical outgrowth of that situation is for the case to take longer and involve a lot more work on the part of the attorneys. So, in many situations where a client would like to reduce the amount of time and money involved in litigating a case, the best way to do that may be to adopt a less demanding settlement posture. It is not my contention that people should generally settle cases for less than they are due, but I firmly believe that many cases can be settled on a "win-win" basis if both parties are reasonable and are willing to compromise fairly. That is not always the case, obviously, but it frequently is.

Contact

Hottenroth, Garverick, Tilson & Garverick, Co., L.P.A.
126 S. Market St.
Galion, OH 44833

Phone: 419-468-5044
Fax: 419-468-1308
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