1. Does Laurie Ward do divorces, child custody matters or bankruptcy?
No. There are many other lawyers who can assist you with this type of case.
2. What types of matters can Laurie Ward help me with?
Most of her cases deal with people who have been hurt, people who are trying to do estate planning and people who find themselves with a criminal charge. She can also help if you need a real estate contract or are thinking about setting up a new business. If you are not sure if she handles your type of matter, call her office.
3. I have a felony conviction from a long time ago, can you get it off my record?
On January 1, 2018 changes were made about getting things “off your record”. The process may not completely erase your record. You can get a first DWI conviction (after 10 years) taken off of your record under some circumstances. You will need to check with a lawyer to get an answer for your situation.
4. I got a ticket for a DWI, what should I do?
Get in touch with a lawyer within 15 days. Some things you can handle without a lawyer but a DWI is not one of them. You could lose your license, you might have to get high risk insurance and complete a Substance Abuse Traffic Offenders Program (SATOP) in addition to any punishment from the court if you are convicted. You need a lawyer on a DWI.
5. If I hire a lawyer for my criminal case, will my case go away or get dismissed?
It might, but it may not. Lawyers do not make cases go away. Lawyers make sure your rights are protected throughout the case. Sometimes during the process, the State figures out the case against you is not very strong or there is a problem with the case. This can result in the case being dismissed. You always have the right to challenge the case by going to trial, if a judge or jury finds you “not guilty,” your case will go away.
6. I know of a person who got a DWI and they did not lose their license.
Every case is decided on the facts and circumstances of that case. Just because you get a ticket for a DWI does not mean you get convicted of a DWI or you lose your license. Just because someone is still driving their vehicle after they got a DWI does not mean they are driving legally. If you get a DWI, hire a lawyer and get the facts.
7. Do I need a lawyer if I have been hurt by someone else?
Not always, it depends on your situation. If you were in a minor car accident and have no lingering injuries you can deal with the insurance company. If they make an offer to settle and you are satisfied with the amount, you do not need a lawyer. If you were hospitalized it would be a good idea to talk to a lawyer. A doctor treated your injuries, let a lawyer treat your case.
8. Can I turn my medical bills in to my own health insurance if someone else caused my injuries?
Yes, even if someone else caused your injuries. It will get the bills paid quicker and the medical people will like that.
9. Can I give my medical bills to the other person’s insurance company to pay if they caused my injuries?
You can but the other person’s insurance company is not going to pay them until your case is settled. You may not be done getting treatment and your bills will not be getting paid. If you have health insurance, turn the bills into your health insurance.
10. How much should I settle for if I have been hurt by someone else?
How much do you think 12 people on a jury would think your case was worth? There is no magic formula. The insurance company wants to pay as little as possible and pay as soon as possible. Sometimes people’s injuries are more serious than they thought but once you settle with the insurance company, your injuries are no longer their problem.
11. How do lawyers get paid in an accident case?
Most lawyers get paid based on a percentage of the settlement. If you already have an offer from the insurance company, the lawyer’s fee is based on a percentage above your offer. Sometimes, if you already have an offer the lawyer may not want to take your case because they can’t get you that much more money.
12. If I don’t have a Will when I die, does the State get all of my property?
No, only if you have no blood relative anywhere. In general, if you do not have a Will, your property will go to your spouse and/or blood relatives. There are laws that set out how your property is divided IF you do not have a Will.
13. Do I have to leave my property to my family after I pass away?
No. It is your property and you can leave it to anybody you want to.
14. My father/mother died, what am I entitled to inherit?
In general, no one has a right to inherit anything. If your parent had a Will and wished to give you something, you get what they left you under the Will. If your parent had a Will and decided to leave everything to the neighbor, you are “entitled” to nothing. Enjoy your family while they are here, don’t wait to enjoy their stuff after they are gone.
15. Do I have to leave my property to my kids equally when I pass away?
No. Your property is yours to divide up how you think is best.
16. If I leave someone $1 when I die, will that keep them from contesting the Will?
No. Anyone can contest your Will. That does not mean they will be successful. Leaving someone $1 is actually worse than leaving them nothing. The threats of contesting a Will are often exaggerated.
17. My loved one passed away, what do I do with their property now?
You should check with a lawyer to see if anything needs to be done. If the property is in the name of the person who passed, it will need to be transferred to the people who are supposed to get it. Nothing has to be done immediately upon death. Get through the funeral and saying goodbye, then follow-up with a lawyer.
18. How do I avoid Probate?
A lawyer can help you do things so your property will pass outside of probate. Things can be done with real estate, bank accounts, vehicle titles, stocks, etc. that will transfer your property immediately upon your death to your loved ones. However, Probate is just a division of the court and can be helpful in making sure your property passes the way you want it to. Probate does not take everything and having a Will does not mean you avoid Probate. Talk to a lawyer and get the facts about probate. It is not as bad as everyone says.