It’s rare for a filed pleading to go missing, but it happens. An original verified pleading or declaration in a time-sensitive matter is safely filed with the court, but at the hearing, the judge flips though the file and states, “I know this pleading was filed, and I looked at it yesterday, but I can’t find the original in the file and it’s necessary for me to proceed. I can continue the matter so you can provide a new pleading, or deny without prejudice. Counsel, what’s your preference?” What do you do?
It’s fairly common for an estate planner to meet with a client who wishes to cut one or more of his or her intestate heirs out of the estate plan. Like Miss Birdie in “The Rainmaker,” they look at you and say “cut, cut, cut!” But is leaving nothing to an intestate heir or previously included beneficiary really a good idea? Or, should you counsel your clients to give such folks something to think about?