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My wife's signature has been forged relating to a Polish will, is it worth hiring a lawyer?


gatorpaw 1 | 1
12 Jul 2014  #1
I have lived in the U.S. all my life and was fortunate enough to have met my wife during a 1997 visit to Poland. We live in the U.S. and in 2002 her dad passed away. In 2007 her step mother passed away after suffering from a stroke that she had in 2006. My wife lost her real mother during birth and at the age of 2 found her step mother that took care of her till we met. She was the only child to either mother.

The father left half of his will to the step mother and half to my wife. The step mother had signed her "will" over to her relatives 3 months before her death. She was in no condition to sign or make any decisions because her health was very bad. The relatives bribed/manipulated a notary to stamp the "will" and lied about where my wife lived and forged her signature to keep court papers away from her. My wife never received the court documents that would have enabled her to contest and/or check her step mothers mental state by a doctor. The relatives were dumb enough to have the documents come to their address and told the court my wife lived there. These people are known to have manipulated 3 other families out of their will also.

My question is, would it be worth hiring a lawyer in Poland and teaching these folks some manners. Is this case winnable and are Poland's laws stiff and strict on forgery in cases like this. In the U.S.A. it would but I am not so sure about Poland since there are stories of corruption still going on over there. The general area is Kolbuszowa. There is much more to this story but I tried to keep it as short as possible. Thanks for reading=)
Dont gag me yo 7 | 156
12 Jul 2014  #2
You will first have to check what are the statute of limitations in Poland if any.Check the American embassy lawyers guide and call or e email them.I know one named steve bendette(spell check) he was good but expensive well worth it,recommended by embassy as well.Just to add trials in Poland are not jury based so all depends on judge esp in civil cases.
inkrakow 1 | 98
12 Jul 2014  #3
It's probably winnable but only you can decide whether it's worthwhile pursuing. It can take years (I'm involved in a similar case - 7.5 years and counting...).
legate - | 46
12 Jul 2014  #4
you can have a legal opinion prepared for you and decide afterwards.
the legal opinion should cost you 150-300$
qwet
12 Jul 2014  #5
Not worth it unless you come and supervise the lawyer otherwise you will just receive a lot of bills and no actual work
Dont gag me yo 7 | 156
12 Jul 2014  #6
Depends what law firm you hire.I always make sure I pay good to my doctor,Lawyer and Accountant,they well worth it.
Monitor 14 | 1,821
12 Jul 2014  #7
I am not sure if the the court trial can be lead without presence of your wife.
OP gatorpaw 1 | 1
13 Jul 2014  #8
We have made a decision. We will fight and try to expertise humane law in Poland and have Poland as a international competent country.
Dont gag me yo 7 | 156
13 Jul 2014  #9
Very good decision,better late then never but do hire a reputable law firm not some rinky dink lawyer and dont chince on there fee.
jon357 63 | 14,124
13 Jul 2014  #10
not some rinky dink lawyer and dont chince on there fee.

Yes - this is very good advice. In PL there are more bad lawyers than good ones. Get a good one. Incidentally, there are websites where clients review lawyers and it might be worth having a look at a few of these.
legate - | 46
13 Jul 2014  #11
In PL there are more bad lawyers than good ones

I'm sorry to hear your opinion. First of all you should always look for a lawyer with "radca prawny" / "adwokat" title because there are plenty of other lawyers without professional certification and professional responsibility.

I run the legal office myself and the market is so competitive that all the relatively young attorneys have to do their best to keep the client satisfied.

I won't write about my attitude because my opinion on that matter would be biased but I have some collegue attorneys who are in my opinion very good and professional and not as expensive as "Qwet" thinks.
jon357 63 | 14,124
13 Jul 2014  #12
First of all you should always look for a lawyer with "radca prawny" / "adwokat" title

The one that missed 2 deadlines for me was an adwokat. The OP if he speaks Polish should look at some of the view sites - I wish I had. That or choose one of the bigger and better known firms.
Dont gag me yo 7 | 156
14 Jul 2014  #13
I'm sorry to hear your opinion.

Its very true though.When you meet a lawyer they charge you for consultation fee which in my opinion is wrong and those are the lawyers i never hire.The lawyers I hire are the ones who first present a case to me that why I should hire them....I figured those lawyers usually end up being expensive but they do the job.Lawyers asking for initial consultation fee eventually turn out costing same but they just money hungry without work.And I learnt that hiring reputable law firms are best then hiring individual lawyers(reason I found out the lawyers assigned to your case in a reputable firm has to show results to his collegues and climb up the ladder in the corporate world) .I dont have any litigation experience in Poland YET but in states I do a lot and there eventually the best way to do is to settle by mediation,even the judges there give you time to mediate esp if you think your case is not strong.Then also see what lawyer has his specialisation in,never hire a lawyer who is do it all in all fields,as with experience I can tell as i dealt with environmentall,taxes,real estate and criminal lawyers in my line of work they were all specialised in there field.
legate - | 46
14 Jul 2014  #14
I learnt that hiring reputable law firms are best then hiring individual lawyers

I get your point but there's another thing to consider. The lawyer hired by a big law firm is just an employee and an attorney running his own business is mostly better motivated to do his job well. He's doing it for himself not for his boss. Secondly, for a big law firm which is hired by banks and other big corporations you're just a small occasional client. For an individual lawyer you are more important. Of course, there are some pompous and incompetent ones but they are working for big law firms as well.

Lawyers asking for initial consultation fee eventually turn out costing same but they just money hungry without work.

unfortunatelly I had some "clients" who were interested in being counseled, got their initial opinion and never paid. I'm not the only one - many collegues ran into a smart ass who prefers to turn to a number of lawyers and get something from every one without paying. Everyone wants to be paid for his work - lawyers as well. Most of the lawyers are flexible when it comes to the payment scheme though.

Then also see what lawyer has his specialisation in,never hire a lawyer who is do it all in all fields

I agree on that point.
Dont gag me yo 7 | 156
14 Jul 2014  #15
You do have a point,but on the other hand with my experience,the lawyer appointed to me by the big firm is also competative and show results to his boss so works with the client assigned and also they will assign a lawyer who is appropriate in the matter.But I will agree your point also so its a grey area,depending on the lawyer and the client.

unfortunatelly I had some "clients" who were interested in being counseled, got their initial opinion and never paid.

LOL i do that also honestly,and usually take the attorney as a friend and go out for lunch etc and get my info:)But I understand your point but in poland I was invited to come and talk by a small law firm and then they told me to pay 400pln and if I retain them that will be adjusted towards the fee,next lawyer I called I asked her if it was a consultation or a presentation by her for the work she said consultation so I cancelled the appointment.I think it should be clarified before the appointment what is it so both parties know what they are going to meet for and what are my choices and what can he/she do for it.I dont think if thats an advice to be paid for or a presentation for the work they will perform.

Recently I had a envoirenmental settlement through a big law firm attorney hired by my insurance,after 6 months the other party refused to comply with the court ordered settlement.I called the attorney and he wanted to charge me 500$ an hour from me personally to pursue the case as it was a seperate issue for implementation and monitoring the court order,now I am fighting the insurance to cover it.I was glad that the attorney told me before hand that they will charge me and how much unlike the experience I had in Poland.
legate - | 46
14 Jul 2014  #16
on the other hand with my experience,the lawyer appointed to me by the big firm is also competative and show results to his boss

Of course, generally I have a rather good opinion on polish attorneys. I suppose I wanted to say that there's no clear rule...you can find a big law firm and be satisfied and so is possible with a smaller office. Smaller offices are usually cheaper though ;)

I dont think if thats an advice to be paid for or a presentation for the work they will perform

If a presentation means a clarification on the procedure and drawing of the subsequent steps that should be taken I would not agree with you :) Sometimes the proper opinion on the expediency of the legal action requires a number of hours of work so this is a reason why many attorneys don't agree on that.

You can always ask for a legal opinion and agree that the fee for the opinion will be set off against future salary if the opinion proves that the legal action is worth taking. If the opinion proves otherwise you will end up spending little and save yourself high legal costs.

500$ an hour

that really sounds unreal :) This is a rare rate even for top german law firms.


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