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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

This area of our website is designed to offer you straightforward answers to some of the most common questions related to legal matters. Getting basic information can help you begin to make the right choices about your case, whether it involves a minor legal matter or a potentially life-changing issue.

In addition to reviewing the frequently asked questions here, please click on our Home page to find out more about the different practice areas Hoeper Law Offices can help you with.

Do I need an attorney?

Determining whether you should hire an attorney is a personal choice that you should make based upon your particular situation. Depending on your needs and the specific type of legal matter you are dealing with, you may or may not require legal counsel at a particular point in time. The best way of determining whether to hire an attorney is to schedule a confidential consultation. By talking with a local attorney about your case and concerns, you can get information you need to make your own decision on whether you need legal counsel.

How do I know if I have grounds for a personal injury claim?

A personal injury lawsuit may be filed against an individual or company that has acted in such a way as to cause you physical and/or emotional injury. You will need to have grounds to file a lawsuit. This is typically based on negligence, which is a failure to act with proper caution or care in the circumstances, but you may also have grounds based upon intentional conduct. A lawyer can review your case and the cause of your injuries to determine whether you have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit. There are time limits within which a lawsuit must be started, so an early evaluation is preferable.

What is the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor?

All criminal offenses are separated into different categories depending on the penalties that may be imposed if a defendant is convicted. Each state has its own statutes relating to specific penalties for felonies versus misdemeanors, but the key difference is usually whether the defendant will face imprisonment in county jail or state prison. A felony is the more serious of the two, and penalties may range from 6 months to life in state prison, depending on the state. Some felonies are even punishable by death. A misdemeanor is generally punishable by up to one year in county jail, though this too may vary depending upon the jurisdiction.

What are some of the penalties associated with OVWI offences?

OVWI, or operating a vehicle while intoxicated, may be punishable by jail and fines, community service, probation, license suspension, alcohol or drug rehabilitation and ignition interlock. The specific penalties that a defendant may face will vary, primarily depending on the jurisdiction and circumstance surrounding the alleged offense, such as a first time DUI as opposed to causing a fatal auto accident while driving under the influence. Any evaluation of possible defenses is in order whenever tickets are issued.

Can bankruptcy eliminate all of my debt?

Federal Bankruptcy Courts have the power to reorganize and eliminate debt. Generally speaking, it will only completely eliminate unsecured debt, such as credit card bills, personal loans, medical bills, dental bills, utility bills and other debt that is not secured by collateral. Bankruptcy usually does not eliminate student loans, child support, spousal support and certain taxes. It is important to talk to a bankruptcy attorney about your particular financial situation to see how your debt may be affected by your filing bankruptcy.

How is child custody determined?

Though every state is different, child custody is typically determined based upon what is in the "best interests of the child" – the scenario that will most contribute to the child's physical and emotional well-being. If parents cannot reach their own agreements regarding custody and visitation (referred to as time joint physical placement in some states) then the court may intervene, making a ruling based on what it considers the evidence shows to be in the child's best interests, after hearing the recommendation of a lawyer appointed to represent the child, a guardian ad litem.

Why is a will necessary?

The Wisconsin intestate succession laws apply if a person dies intestate, which means they die without a will. You may not wish for your property to be equally portioned among members of your family, and you may want to give specific assets to particular people. Additionally, if you do not have a valid will in place, the court will select a personal representative to administer your estate and either a guardian ad litem or a general guardian for your minor children who you may not have wanted or chosen. You can control the future of your estate by creating a will.

Even if current statutory presumptions distribute property in a manner you agree with, the legislature may alter them before they apply to your estate. By creating a valid will, you can help ensure that your assets are distributed in a way that is pleasing to you.

Would it be beneficial to avoid probate by creating a trust?
It is possible to distribute property without probate through the use of a revocable trust. The size of your estate, appreciation, the type of assets and your personal wishes can help determine whether creating a trust makes sense for you. It is important to note that revocable trusts do not remove property from estate tax calculations, so this may not be the best option for you. I determine the most advantageous choices for my clients by analyzing their unique situations, and I can do so to help you decide if creating a trust will be advantageous.

What are the benefits of having a Durable Power of Attorney?
Many financial institutions will not accept a spouse's signature in place of your own, even if you are incapacitated. A Durable Power of Attorney is more cost-efficient than a guardianship proceeding. Additionally, you may request some beneficial actions in a Durable Power of Attorney.

Should I create a pre-nuptial agreement or a Martial Property Agreement before getting married?
A pre-nuptial agreement or a Marital Property Agreement may be beneficial if you have assets that you do not want to be considered as marital property in the event that you and your spouse ever divorce. If you are getting married for the second time, having such an agreement in place can help you protect your assets for the benefit of any children from your first marriage.

I don't want to go to court alone. Can I bring a lawyer with me to Small Claims Court?
Yes. Lawyers can assist with many types of litigation, including Small Claims actions. An experienced attorney can advocate for your best interests and use the legal system to pursue your desired results during a Small Claims court appearance.

Obtaining the legal services of an attorney is not essential when purchasing a house, according to my banker. Is this accurate?
To ensure that there are no hidden liens or improper charges and that you will be acquiring the title properly, it is important to have an experienced lawyer examine the title and review the documentation that transfers the property to you.

Sometimes bankers and real estate agents tell clients that they no longer need lawyers for Title Insurance. It may be beneficial for you to seek legal assistance, however, because Title Insurance companies can make errors that affect your interests and it can be difficult to comprehend the legal jargon used in the Title Commitment without training in the law. Additionally, a lawyer can represent your best interests should a problem arise at closing.

Why should I have an Offer to Purchase? Why should I have a lawyer review an Offer to Purchase before signing?
Real estate transactions are some of the most significant transactions people make during their lives. The Offer to Purchase creates the contract that governs the real estate transaction. An experienced attorney can help protect your interests to make sure you are not taken advantage of by people seeking to be rewarded for concluding the transaction as quickly as possible.

Isn't it more cost-effective for me to obtain a pro se divorce than to hire a lawyer?
Pro se personnel are not lawyers, which means they are unable to provide you with legal advice or to represent your interests when dividing property, for instance. It is essential to obtain qualified legal service when dissolving a marriage, because the outcome of your divorce will have serious implications upon your relationships and finances. Divorce is emotional for both individuals, but an attorney is able to think clearly and look out for your rights and assets. A qualified lawyer can also help you avoid future problems and the need for modification, which can be costly and time consuming.

Hoeper Law Offices - Waupun Probate Attorney
696 Green Lake
Waupun, WI 54941
Phone: (920) 344-0812
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The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

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