Commonly Asked Questions
Many people have questions regarding common legal issues. At Knight Moore we are dedicated to answering your legal questions. Below are some common questions people ask when they are at our office.The information provided below is general in nature and we highly encourage you to contact our office with you specific legal issues.
- What is a Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney is when a person grants the authority to another person to act on their behalf as if they were acting personally in any matter. Typically, a person who executes a General Power of Attorney is enabling a loved one to sign for them and do things on their behalf as if they were doing them themselves. Usually a Power of Attorney is a matter of convenience for an elderly or disabled person. Sometimes a Power of Attorney is used when a person is unavailable to sign documents or manage their affairs. A Power of Attorney once granted is revocable and is not supervised by the Probate or Common Pleas Court.
There are basically two types of Power of Attorney. A General Power of Attorney enables the person to do all things for the person granting the Power of Attorney. A Limited Power of Attorney only allows that Power of Attorney to do those things listed in it on behalf of the person granting the power. An example of a Limited Power of Attorney would be to convey real estate. An example of a General Power of Attorney would be one which allows you to do a persons banking, sign contracts, leases and convey real estate for that person.
- What is the difference between a Power of Attorney and a Health Care Power of Attorney?
A General Power of Attorney is usually called a Financial Power of Attorney so that the person can take care of financial matters or the assets of the person granting it. A Health Care Power of Attorney does not enable the person who is granted the power to take care of financial matters for their loved one, but helps make health care decisions when the loved one is unable or unwilling to do so. Both the Health Care Power of Attorney and a Financial Power of Attorney are revocable by the person granting it.
- My spouse just died. What do I do?
When you lose your spouse you should immediately contact the Knight Moore Law Firm to determine the steps in processing the transfer of assets from your deceased spouse. You should get a copy of the death certificate as soon as possible and locate the Last Will and Testament of the deceased spouse for safe-keeping. If you have an estate plan that you formulated with your attorney, you should review that plan immediately and consult an attorney to make sure it is properly executed. Usually a husband and wife have joint bank accounts and jointly owned property so there is usually no emergency in making those assets available. Generally, if both husband and wife are the owners of an account, the presentation to the bank or financial institution of a death certificate enables the surviving spouse to withdraw funds to meet the short term obligations of the family.
There are many other issues that must be dealt with when a spouse dies. One of the most common is transfer of motor vehicles to the surviving spouse. Under certain criteria, you can transfer the motor vehicles immediately into the surviving spouse’s name. It is best to meet with a qualified attorney to see if you meet these criteria.
Generally, the best thing to do when you lose a loved one is to contact your attorney’s office immediately so that the attorney can help get you through this most difficult of times.
- I have been accused of a crime and have to appear at court. What is going to happen?
The very first court hearing that you will be compelled to attend is called an “arraignment”. At the arraignment the judge ask you to enter a “plea of guilty”, “plea of not guilty” or “plea of no contest”. If still incarcerated, the judge will also set bond. It is important to have an attorney prior to the arraignment. The earlier you can address the criminal charges, the better off you will be. An attorney can enter a plea for you so that you will not need to attend the arraignment. If incarcerated, an attorney can often negotiate a lower bond so that you can secure your release.
Following arraignment, your case will likely be set for a pre-trial. At that pretrial the prosecutor and your attorney will discuss your case, and will often attempt to negotiate an agreement to resolve the issue, this is called a “plea agreement”.
If you do not enter into a plea agreement, the matter will be set for a trial. There are two types of trial, a bench trial and a jury trial. A bench trial is held before the judge who decides guilt or innocence and, if found guilty, what sentence to institute. At a jury trial a panel of people from the jurisdiction, chosen at random, decide guilt or innocence. If found guilty, the judge will sentence from the bench.
It is of paramount importance to have an advocate with you throughout the criminal process. If you have been accused of a crime, please do not wait to contact a qualified attorney.
- What is the difference between a “plea of no contest” and a “plea of guilty”?
A plea of guilty is a complete admission of guilt to the charges against you. A plea of no contest means that you do not dispute the facts underlying the charges, and request that the court make a determination of guilt or innocence based on those uncontroverted facts. When a person enters a no contest plea the judge will likely find the individual guilty; however a “no contest” plea may have an important impact on any civil case that follows the criminal case because a “no contest” plea may not be entered into evidence against the accused in some civil cases.
The material and information contained on these pages and on any pages linked from these pages are intended to provide information and not legal advice. You should always consult with a lawyer licensed to practice in your jurisdiction before relying on the information posted here. Every situation is different and the information provided here is meant to provide an overview of possible relevant legal issues and you should seek legal counsel for guidance on your specific legal issue or questions.