Q: Person in possession of heirship affidavit on my ancestor has been impersonating self as my deceased ancestor since 198-
She and her descendants filed false documents to access in a county court to collect royalty payments on the gas and oil leases which she forged. Need to file for the court to review all related documentation and restore my rights. Want to represent self in court as I can tell my story and journey better. Looking for limited representation. Is it possible or allowed?
A: It's hard to get an attorney to agree to a partial representation. That's like asking a surgeon to help you while you do your own gall bladder surgery. It's not a good idea to represent yourself in something like this. You will be held to the same standard as an attorney as far as knowledge of the rules of procedure and the rules of evidence. A good attorney can present your case more effectively than you can. Even if you have a great case, doing it yourself involves the risks of making errors that will defeat your case in court. AN attorney can also contact the oil company and have them suspend royalties to the imposter.
This is not a rant against you or against pro se litigants in general.
Your story may be compelling, but the problem is most clients need coaching in order to tell the relevant portions. Most clients want to bring up extraneous matters. You have limited time to explain the salient points. You are also likely to be clobbered with procedure. Allegations of fraud have heightened pleading requirement. How will you handle discovery? Will your story be admissible or will it be excluded as hearsay or for some other reason. If you get a judgment how will you enforce it? Can you recover from the forger.
Aimee is correct, most attorneys will not handle a matter from the sidelines. Often this can actually cost more as the attorney will have to school the client on every twist and turn.
There is the old adage: A Man Who Is His Own Lawyer Has a Fool for a Client
If this is worthwhile hire an attorney.
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