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Setting Expectations in Your Trust and Will Lawsuit

If you are entering into a lawsuit in our justice system, you really need to adjust your expectations. This is not a television show or movie about the law that will get to trial and resolved (in your favor of course) in two hours or less. Real life is different. Your lawsuit is likely to last 12 to 24 months, if you are lucky (they can take longer). You will encounter many roadblocks, delays, adverse rulings, and gamesmanship by the opposing lawyer. You will have to fight for basic information and will likely remain in the dark about key witnesses or facts even going into trial.

Lawsuits are hard. You have an opposing party who is working against you and a court system that is far overburdened. Sometimes the judge does not see an issue your way, or fails to fully understand what is occurring in your case. And sometimes witnesses that you thought would be favorable either cannot be found or fail to say what you thought (or were told) they’d say.

Persistence is the most important trait for any party in a lawsuit. The winner of any suit is usually the last man (or woman) standing. Those who are too ready to give up and go home usually get a raw deal in settlement or a half-hearted result at trial.

For that reason, if you are not ready, willing, and able to take your lawsuit to the bitter end (and it will be bitter), then you may want to think twice about suing in the first place. Not suing is a perfectly legitimate option in most situations.

The key is to expect the unexpected. Your lawyer is there to guide you through the process, and she or he has seen it all before. While your case is new and shocking to you, it is routine for your lawyer. Let your lawyer be your guide, lean on the lawyer’s experience, and try to get a favorable resolution to your case as quickly as you can.