• Shortcuts for the Probate Process in California

    After someone passes away, dealing with the transfer of his or her property can be challenging for loved ones, especially in the absence of a will. Because the probate process can be long and complex, it’s important to hire an experienced attorney in Tracy who understands California’s laws and who can help you navigate the system as quickly as possible. Here are some of the ways your lawyer may be able to help you speed up the probate process.

    Spousal Property Petition

    For surviving spouses and registered domestic partners, the process of transferring property can be easy, even in the absence of a will. Your attorney can submit a Spousal Property Petition in your behalf to the probate court, which can be approved much quicker than traditional probate procedures. There are no limits on the amount of property that can be transferred in this way, as long as the surviving partner has a legal right to the claim it. Your attorney can help you understand your eligibility for using this petition.

    Simple Affidavit

    A simple affidavit can be used to transfer property that is under a specified amount. For this procedure, your lawyer will help you prepare a document listing the property that you are claiming, which you will then sign under oath. The affidavit can be submitted directly to whoever is holding the property along with a death certificate, and the party with physical ownership will release it to the party who is claiming it. This process lets surviving family members avoid probate court completely. This procedure can only be used for property that is worth $150,000 or less or for real estate that is $50,000 or less in value.

    Simplified Probate

    If you can’t use either of the previous solutions, your attorney may help you file a request for a simplified probate process. This process can be used for small estates of $150,000 or less, excluding real estate outside of the state, death benefits, life insurance, and property that is not automatically transferred to a surviving spouse. Your attorney will help you determine if this procedure is right for you.

  • Do I Need Expert Witnesses for My Slip and Fall Lawsuit?

    Slip and fall injuries can range in severity from mild ankle sprains to life-threatening head trauma. If you fell on someone else’s property because of their negligence, and you sustained damages as a result, you shouldn’t have to pay for their mistakes. Talk to an attorney in Tracy or Manteca about your right to legal recourse. Hiring a personal injury lawyer will give you the best chances of securing a favorable outcome for your case. He or she may recommend hiring some expert witnesses to substantiate your allegations with evidence.

    The Role of Expert Witnesses

    An expert witness is someone who testifies under oath at a trial. This person is not personally involved with the case, but does have certain expertise and knowledge that pertain to a key facet of the case. When the expert witness takes the stand, the personal injury lawyer will first establish his or her credentials and ability to testify about the issues of the case. Then, the expert witness will be asked to explain the technical aspects of the case to the court.

    The Benefits of Hiring Expert Witnesses

    Slip and fall accidents can be difficult to litigate, especially if there is no video footage or eyewitness testimony available. A jury will only return a favorable verdict for you, the plaintiff, if there is evidence to support your side of the story. Expert witnesses can accomplish this. They can make or break your case. Using the testimony of expert witnesses improves your chances of getting a jury award, and may even bolster the compensation you’re awarded.

    The Types of Expert Witnesses

    Your injury lawyer can use a few different types of expert witnesses for a slip and fall case, although not all of them may be needed in every case. Any of the following types of experts can be helpful:

    • Medical and rehab experts
    • Vocational/life care planning experts
    • Accident reconstruction specialists
    • Flooring and traction experts
    • Building inspectors or architects

    Building inspectors might testify that the defendant failed to follow the local building code. A flooring or traction expert could testify as to the slipperiness of the floor and the risk of falls. An accident reconstruction expert can explain to the jury exactly how the accident happened, and medical and vocational experts can discuss the impact of the accident on your daily life.