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Discovery procedures in California probate proceedings

Discovery procedures in California probate proceedings is the topic of this blog post.  Note that the term probate proceedings encompasses any proceeding commenced under the Probate Code in California and includes not only the probate of estates and trust proceedings, but also conservatorship and guardianships as well.

Parties in California probate proceedings can utilize the same discovery procedures as are used in California civil litigation unless the Probate Code states otherwise.  And all issues of fact in a probate proceeding are tried using the same rules of practice that are used in civil litigation.

Probate Code § 1000 states that, “Except to the extent that this code provides applicable rules, the rules of practice applicable to civil actions, including discovery proceedings and proceedings under Title 3a (commencing with Section 391) of Part 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure, apply to, and constitute the rules of practice in, proceedings under this code. All issues of fact joined in probate proceedings shall be tried in conformity with the rules of practice in civil actions”.

Thus parties to probate proceedings can utilize form and special interrogatories, requests for admission, truth of facts and genuineness of documents, and requests for production of documents in addition to depositions and the other discovery procedures commonly used in civil litigation in the State of California.

The importance of discovery in probate litigation cannot be emphasized enough. Utilizing discovery correctly can mean the difference between winning and losing for many probate proceedings.  Failure to properly use the discovery procedures will result in many cases which could have been won at trial, or a reasonable settlement reached before trial, being lost instead.

The following discovery procedures can be very cost effective when used properly in probate proceedings.

Form and special interrogatories are very useful as a party can request the other party to state all facts, identify all persons having knowledge of the facts, and all documents in support of the facts which, support the other party’s requests made in that party’s petition, objection or other response.

Additionally, requests for production of documents are also useful in obtaining copies of correspondence, bank and financial records, and other documents that are pertinent to that particular probate proceeding.

And last but not least, requests for admission can be used to request the other party admit or deny certain pertinent facts, and/or admit that certain attached documents are genuine.

Other discovery procedures can also be used but the ones mentioned above are particularly cost effective.

The right use of discovery procedures in California probate proceedings is a vital tool in (1) evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of each party’s case; (2) preparing for trial, and (3) facilitating settlement negotiations.

To view over 300 sample legal documents for California and Federal litigation sold by the author click here: View over 300 sample legal documents for sale

The author of this blog post, Stan Burman, is a freelance paralegal who has worked in California and Federal litigation since 1995.

Visit his website at Sample litigation document packages for sale

If you would like to subscribe to his newsletter click on the following link: http://www.legaldocspro.net/newsletter.htm

 

Responding to requests for production of documents in California litigation

http://legaldocspro.net/blog/responses-to-requests-for-documents-in-california/

Motion to compel responses to request for production of documents in California

http://legaldocspro.net/blog/motion-to-compel-responses-to-requests-for-documents-in-california/

Motion to compel further responses to request for production of documents in California

http://legaldocspro.net/blog/compel-further-responses-to-requests-for-documents-in-california/

Requests for production of documents in California

Requests for production of documents in California are the topic of this blog post.

Requests for production of documents are a vital tool for obtaining the documents that support the opposing party’s claims or defenses so they can be reviewed. Demanding production and inspection of documents and tangible things, as well as entering onto land for inspection and other purposes is permitted under the Code of Civil Procedure in California.

Laws governing requests for production of documents in California.

The statutes governing requests for production of documents are found in Code of Civil Procedure § 2031.010, et seq.

A defendant may propound a request for production of documents at any time, however a plaintiff may not do so until at least ten (10) days have passed since service of the summons on the defendant, or the general appearance by the defendant, whichever occurs first.  See Code of Civil Procedure § 2031.020.

There is no numerical limit to the number of requests but a party served with excessive requests may seek leave of court to limit the number of requests.

The California courts have ruled that the scope of discovery in California civil litigation is very broad. Any doubts are applied liberally in favor of discovery.

For discovery purposes, information is relevant if it might reasonably assist a party in evaluating case, preparing for trial, or facilitating settlement. Gonzalez v. Superior Court (City of San Fernando (1995) 33 Cal.App.4th 1539, 1546.

Admissibility is not the test and information, unless privileged, is discoverable if it might reasonably lead to admissible evidence. Davies v. Superior Court (1984) 36 Cal.3d 291, 301

Requests for production and inspection of documents and tangible things are very useful in that they allow a party to review in detail all relevant documents and tangible things that support the opposing party’s claims or defenses.

Sample requests for production of documents in California.

Attorneys or parties to civil litigation in California who wish to view a portion of a sample request for production of documents for use by a defendant in an unlimited civil case that is sold by the author can see below.

 

To view a portion of sample responses to a request for production of documents in California for an unlimited civil case sold by the author can see below.

 

California discovery document collection containing over 45 sample documents.

Attorneys or parties in California that would like more information on a California discovery litigation document package containing over 45 sample documents including both sample requests for production of documents and responses to requests for production of documents can use the link shown below.

California discovery litigation document package

The author of this article, Stan Burman, is a freelance paralegal who has worked in California and Federal litigation since 1995. If you are in need of assistance with any California or Federal litigation matters, Mr. Burman is available on a freelance basis. Mr. Burman may be contacted by e-mail at DivParalgl@yahoo.com for more information. He accepts payments through PayPal which means that you can pay using most credit or debit cards.

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DISCLAIMER:

Please note that the author of this blog post, Stan Burman is NOT an attorney and as such is unable to provide any specific legal advice. The author is NOT engaged in providing any legal, financial, or other professional services, and any information contained in this blog post is NOT intended to constitute legal advice.

The materials and information contained in this blog post have been prepared by Stan Burman for informational purposes only and are not legal advice. Transmission of the information contained in this blog post is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, any business relationship between the author and any readers. Readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel.

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