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Understanding Business Litigation

Running a business is a difficult endeavor, and it cannot be done alone. At times, issues will arise that require expert decisions, and most business owners are not experts in business law. When a legal concern arises, an experienced Los Angeles business litigation attorney must be called upon to provide you with the options available and how best to proceed after choosing an option.

Options before Litigation

Legal matters concerning a business do not necessarily have to go to litigation. An experienced attorney will exhaust all other options before going to litigation. If an initial settlement is not reached, a lawyer need not go immediately to litigation. In many cases, alternative dispute resolution (ADR) may provide the most benefits. ADR can include mediation between the two parties, arbitration involving a neutral third-party, or a combination of the two. ADR takes place in a more relaxed environment than a formal trial. The rules of ADR are not as strict, and it is generally less expensive.

Another option that can be used in some cases is small claims court. This type of court proceeding is for minor lawsuits involving small monetary sums. Small claims courts do not require an attorney present if the cost would be prohibited by the amount of the claim.

Courtroom Proceedings

If a business case goes to litigation, several steps must be followed in order to achieve a successful judicial resolution. Once the initial pleading is filed and the other party has been allowed to respond, the judge will begin to accept motions. The pleadings are the initial claims and counter-claims, while the motions are requests for a judge to take some action pertinent to the case.

After the motions are filed, a pretrial will commence. A pretrial is an effort to make the actual trial run more efficiently and smoothly. The strengths and weaknesses of the parties’ claims can be determined so a course of action can be determined.

The actual trial may be heard by a judge alone, or it may be heard by a jury and presided over by a judge. Trials involving litigation and a Los Angeles business litigation attorney may take months or even years to be heard. Once it begins, the trial may end in an hour, or it may last for several days.

When the trial has finished, a judgment is made. The judgment may result in the clearing of the case, one or both parties being ordered to take specific actions or it may result in damages being awarded.

Appeals

If one party disagrees with the judgment rendered from a business litigation case, the party who disagrees may file an appeal with a higher court. The appellate court will review the facts of the case and may require another trial. However, the appeal may also be found to be without merit, letting the original judgment stand.

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Utilizing a Los Angeles Estate Litigation Lawyer for Estate Planning

Estate planning refers to making arrangements for the disposal of an estate in the event of the owner’s death. The purpose of estate planning is to lessen the uncertainty involved in the process of probate, as well as to reduce estate taxes and other expenses that may be incurred. Estate planning includes making arrangements with regard to finances, personal property, and real estate, as well as designating guardians for beneficiaries in incapacity and minor children.

Estate planning devices include wills, beneficiary designations, trusts, property ownership, powers of appointment, powers of attorney, medical powers of attorney, and gifts. If a business is involved, the procedures to be followed regarding its ownership and operation will also be dealt with. Some people may even create a living will with specific final arrangements included. These devices are typically created with the counsel of an estate planning attorney, though some people choose to do so on their own. Complicated estates with multiple assets should always be handled by a professional, Los Angeles estate litigation attorney, however.

When family members of the deceased have disputes about the will or other estate planning devices, the parties involved will go to mediation in hopes of settling the issues. In mediation, all parties involved discuss plans for managing the estate and dividing the assets. Mediation is especially helpful for families with multiple marriages and step siblings, as estate disputes are common in these blended family situations. The goal of mediation is to lessen family conflict and meet financial goals.

If a dispute cannot been settled, full scale estate litigation will become necessary. One or more parties will sue the estate, and the matter will be settled in a court of law. At this point, the party who filed the lawsuit will most likely obtain counsel from an estate litigation attorney. This is an attorney that specializes in estate law and understands all of the intricate aspects of estate planning and its devices.

Choosing a Los Angeles estate litigation attorney is a very important process. The decision made could be the deciding factor in whether or not the case is won. When considering different attorneys for the job, one should take into account characteristics such as experience, reputation, and cost. It is essential that the attorney be well-educated with regard to estate planning and litigation. Finally, the personality of the attorney is also important. One should always choose an attorney with whom he or she feels compatible.

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