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If I Did Not Do Anything Wrong Can I Be Sued?

A client sat across the table from me.  As he wrung his hands, he told me he had been sued by his brother.  My client was the executor of his mother's will.  He had not done anything wrong but his brother had sued him.  His brother alleged he breached his duty by accepting a creditor's claim. We reviewed claim and it was a proper claim to be accepted by the executor.  He just looked so defeated and could not understand how he can be sued if he had not done anything wrong.

Anyone with a court filing fee (or qualifying for a fee waiver) can file anything with the Court.  The Court does not make any determination about the merits of a case when it is filed.  I can file a suit alleging you stole my hippo.  I do not have to prove I had a hippo, you were seen around my hippo or what happened to the hippo when the case is filed.  Eventually I will have to prove my case and that is called a trial.  The jury or judge will hear all the...

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What Do I Need To Know If I Go To Pobate Court In Santa Clara County?

If you are attending Probate Court in Santa Clara County, the courthouse is located at 191 North First Street in San Jose.  Parking can be difficult so allow plenty of time for parking.  There is a public parking garage near the courthouse if you are unable to find street parking.  If you are able to find street parking, it will be metered parking.  Once you make it to the court house, you will need to pass through security.  Take the elevator to the fourth floor.  The Probate Court is currently held in Department 12.  

On the wall opposite of the double doors to the courtroom is a bulletin board.  The day's calendar is hung on the bulletin board.  For each calendar session, there is a listing of the probate cases to be heard in that session.  On the sheet of paper hanging on the bulletin board for the 9:00 calendar, there will be a  listing of cases that includes the line number, time, case number, name of the case and the...

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How Long Does a Trust or Will Contest Take in California?

Generally, it will take at least twelve to twenty-four months for a trust or will contest for the case to proceed to trial.  Of course, this amount of time can change depending upon the various factors of a specific case.  

Some of the factors in a case that may cause it to take longer are:

  • The availability of the court;
  • The time it takes to obtain evidence from third parties;
  • The availability of witnesses; and
  • Motions being filed by a party that the Court must decide before the case can proceed.

After a petition is filed in Court, the hearing is generally about 45-70 days later, depending upon the Court's schedule.  At the initial hearing, the Court determines if there are objections to the petition.  If there are no objections, the Court will grant the petition by signing an order.  If there is an objection by someone but the objection has not been filed in writing, the judge will usually set some deadlines.  The Court then sets the next...

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