Frequently Asked Questions
What Does It Mean to File Bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy is a legal action which allows individuals to eliminate their debt completely or to be relieved from some portion of it. A bankruptcy stays on the debtor’s credit file for seven years.
There are several types of bankruptcy actions. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is generally for those who want to completely eliminate their debt. Chapter 11 is typically for businesses. Chapter 13 is for people who desire to reorganize their debts, by paying a portion thereof.
Many debtors fear they will lose their homes if they file bankruptcy. However as long as the mortgage payments are timely made.
Do I Need a Written Real Estate Agreement if I Want to Buy a Home?
It is very important to have a written agreement if you are trying to purchase a home. The written purchase agreement will detail the terms and conditions of such purchase. If drawn up properly, it should provide a great deal of comfort to a prospective purchaser. Important clauses in a real estate contract, from the buyer’s prospective, include a complete understanding of the purchase price, and other important terms and conditions including the right not to complete the purchase if financing is not available, or if an inspection reveals problems with the home. It is important to have an attorney draft and/or review a real estate purchase agreement, because he or she can explain the meaning and effect of various sections of the agreement. For most people, buying a home is the biggest purchase they will ever make. The more understanding about this event, and the rights you have, the happier and better off you will feel when you purchase your home.
What If I Buy a House and Discover Some Undisclosed Defects? What Rights Do I Have?
The rights you have may depend on how you acquired the house (whether you bought it from the previous owner, received it in a will, purchased it “as is”, or acquired it through some other possibility). Generally, in Ohio, the seller of a home must complete a disclosure form that discloses all of the material matters that are actually known to the seller. For example, the seller must disclose the means of sewage disposal, the presence of hazardous substances (like asbestos or radon) and the condition of the roof, floors, walls and foundation. Case law also suggests that a seller must disclose stigmatization events, such as violent crimes, which occurred on or around the premises.
Generally, if you find defects that were not disclosed in the form, you may be entitled to rescind the contract of purchase, and/or obtain monetary damages. If the seller intentionally misrepresented the condition of the property, you may also be entitled to damages.
It is important to contact an attorney as soon as you discover any undisclosed issues, as time may be of the essence in pursuing any claim.
I Think I May Be A Victom Of Employment Discrimination. How Do I Know Whether I Have a Valid Claim for Discrimination Against My Employer?
Employers are prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age or ancestry. Each of the aforementioned categories establishes membership in a protected class. In order to demonstrate discrimination, a person must show that she is a member of a protected class, she is being treated differently than individuals similarly situated that are not in a protected class, and she is qualified for the position.
A person who believes they may be a victim of discrimination should attempt to exhaust all administrative remedies at their place of employment. She should contact the human resource department and try to resolve the issue “in house”. If this is unsuccessful, a person can contact EEOC/OCRC to submit a charge of discrimination, and seek an agency investigation.
Contact your legal counsel if you feel you have been discriminated against at work. A lawyer practicing in the area of discrimination can guide you through the minefield of reviewing your employee handbook, filing charges before EEOC/OCRC or pursuing a lawsuit
My employer asked me to sign a covenant not to compete. Is such a covenant actually enforceable?
A non-compete covenant is a term in your employment contract which generally states that an employee cannot practice the same trade within a certain period of time and/or within a certain geographical distance.
Employers may ask employees to sign a covenant not compete in order to protect trade secrets, or to prevent the possibility that a former employee could take current clients with him if he becomes employed elsewhere.
Courts will always look at the facts on a case-by-case basis, and try to balance what is fair to both the employee and the employer. A court will consider whether the covenant is greater than what is required to protect the interests of the employer balanced against whether the covenant imposes an undue burden on the employee. For example, a covenant that does not include a distance restriction or forces the employee to travel excessively to be employed may be considered burdensome.
If you believe your covenant is too restrictive, you may ask your attorney or your employer if it is possible to modify the contract to fit your needs.
Do I need a Last Will and Testament?
A Last Will and Testament is a very important document to create and have. This will determine how property is distributed when a person dies. It will allow Executor/Executrix (the person in charge of my property) to determine exactly how my assets are distributed. It will avoid confusion, and will allow my wishes to be followed. It will also provide a way for bills to be paid in an orderly fashion. Without a Will, property may be distributed in manner that doesn’t fit a person’s intent. If a person doesn’t have a spouse, parents or children, the failure to have a Will may result in property going to the government, rather than to friends or other family members.
Forbes, Fields & Associates Co., L.P.A.
Attorneys at Law
3043 Superior Avenue, First Floor
Cleveland, Ohio 44114