We looked (almost) everywhere
Feb 28, 2018
What a day! Some days we get maybe 4-5 people asking anything from how to not get evicted to how to file a class action lawsuit. Today, I got hammered with well over a dozen questions that covered the gamut of legal research - which isn't a bad thing. Its was just a busy day.
Then I had a lady ask where she could find a Petition to Open Probate. Huh. Thinking a bit, a list of possible titles pop into my head and I start to walk over to California Forms of Pleading and Practice (a Lexis title, it dedicates two volumes to probate). As I drew near to the isle where Pleading and Practice was located, I spied California Civil Practice: Probate & Trust Proceedings (TR).
California Civil Practice is published by Thomson Reuters and while it isn't as impressively large as Pleading and Practice, it is a tighter read. What that means is that sometimes the forms are better, or sometimes the instruction is written better, or sometimes the information is easier to understand. Sometimes.
Anyway, I diverted my path to take a look at California Civil Practice: Probate & Trust Proceedings and while I'm looking in the index for a Petition to Open Probate (which, by the way, is found in Vol. 1, Chp. 9), I found references to the Collection and Management of Estate Property (Vol.2, Chp. 12) - and my heart sunk.
See, a few days ago, an older couple came into the library. Seems they had recently settled a probate matter and in the court order noted that they should receive a number of high ticket items. Seems also that opposing counsel was giving couple the runaround and was not complying with the order. Couple came to the library to find out how to enforce the probate court's order and get their stuff.
I looked everywhere. Actually, I wasn't the point person on this. Efren started helping them first and he looked everywhere (I mean, he was awesome sauce). Then Mahum took over and she looked everywhere (I mean, really worked her heart out). Then I was introduced to the mix. I suspect they already tried a number of things but I started with California Practice Guide (Rutter): Probate (TR) and got nowhere. Then I tried California Probate Practice (Lexis). Nothing. Then I tried California Forms of Pleading and Practice. Nope. California Practice Guide (Rutter): Enforcing Judgement's and Debts (TR). Nada. I even tried Debt Collection Practice in California (CEB). Nothing. I tried every bell and whistle I could (a the time) think of and couldn't find anything that could definitively help this couple.
Dejected, I resigned myself to failure and couple left empty handed. Sometimes, it's just like that. Sometimes, there are no answers to be found. Of course, I didn't look everywhere, did I? Nope - I forgot to look in California Civil Practice: Probate & Trust Proceedings...which is what I discovered today (two days after the fact) and which was close if not EXACTLY what couple was looking for.
Oh, the humanity! Well, sometimes you're the nutcracker, sometimes the nut. I was the nut, that day, and here's to hoping couple comes back and gives me another crack at helping them. Next time, I'll be ready. Next time I'll get my ducks in a row. Next time....well, next time at least I'll have a blog post to help me remember to look everywhere and under everything.
Yeah, next time I'll be ready.
Bret is a Legal Research & Instructional Services Librarian at our Main Library.