During the Delaware County Board of Commissioners’ Sept. 16 session, which was held at the Delaware County Fairgrounds, the commissioners were briefed on the Good Deeds Program by Delaware County Clerk of Courts Natalie Fravel, Court of Common Pleas Probate/Juvenile Division Judge David Hejmanowski, and County Recorder Melissa Jordan.
The three county officials’ Good Deeds Program involves a free informational presentation highlighting how real property records and titles are processed in probate court. After the presentation, volunteer attorneys from the Bar Association meet with residents to go over their real property documents to clean up any possible future problems.
“We’re about to take the show on the road,” Hejmanowski told the commissioners. “The idea is to give folks good information about appropriate estate planning when it comes to their homes, titles, deeds, motor vehicles, and the transfer of those properties through the Recorder’s Office. When the inevitable happens, they are better prepared for the transition for their loved ones.”
Hejmanowski said the group hosted the inaugural event in the Delaware County Board of Elections Office inside the Frank B. Willis Government Building on U.S. Route 23. The August event was attended by 200-250 people.
“We had the doors open and folks in the hallway,” he said. “We were really blown away by the turnout.”
Hejmanowski said since the turnout for the first event was so well received, the group has now put forth plans for similar events in multiple venues throughout the county.
Jordan told the commissioners that the group was overwhelmed by the response. She said there has been a 4% return on the mailer sent out to Delaware city residents, and the same results are expected when one is sent to the southern half of the county.
“This has just snowballed,” she said. “It’s a great way to get people out in the community thinking about what to do on the front end. They have an access point to an attorney that can help them rewrite the deed if they need to.”
Fravel said it is front-end planning, because it is ahead of the will.
“It’s ahead of probating the will,” she said. “You can list beneficiaries and survivorship on your home deed and your vehicles and watercraft so you don’t have to probate your will.”
According to Fravel, the presentation is funded through the Administration Fund, which comes from the sales tax on vehicle titles.
“We send our sales tax to the state weekly, but 1.01% of the sales tax is retained by the county,” she said. “It builds and builds, so the commissioners allow us to disperse it for things like this.”
According to the group, the idea for the Good Deeds Program came from Geauga County where it had already been a success.
“Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery,” Jordan said. “I talked to a hand full of the other county recorders who had already done it and I got some information and ideas from them.”
The next Good Deeds Program presentations are as follows:
• Nov. 4, Olentangy High School, 675 Lewis Center Rd, Lewis Center, at 5:30 and 7 p.m.
• Nov. 25, Big Walnut High School, 555 S Old 3C Rd, Sunbury, at 5:30 and 7 p.m.
Anyone wanting to attend the free presentation needs to contact Delaware County Recorder Melissa Jordan at firstname.lastname@example.org by Oct. 25 with the following information contained in an email:
• Event date and time
• Name and address on the deed
• Approximate filing year of the deed
Jordan said she will pre-print as many deeds as possible before the date of the presentation.
Contact D. Anthony Botkin at 740-413-0902. Follow him on Twitter @dabotkin.