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Are You Allowed to Talk to Witnesses Before a Deposition?

Tampering With Evidence or Case Preparation?

In larger estate cases, like nearly all civil cases, depositions are commonplace and are an essential part of the litigation procedure. Depositions allow New York estate attorneys to get the testimony of the necessary parties in an estate action, such as challenging a will, so that both sides of the litigation have an idea of what evidence there is out there. Many people may wonder what is allowed when it comes to having attorneys speak to the parties before litigation takes place. The answer to what is allowed and what is not depends on a couple of things, such as what is being discussed and who the attorney wants to speak to.

To start, an attorney is not allowed to speak to an opposing party alone. Contact must be made through that party’s attorney. This means that a New York estate attorney would not be able to speak to an opposing party before a deposition without permission of that party’s attorney. It is highly unlikely that any attorney will allow their client to participate in such a conversation with opposing counsel, meaning that, almost always, speaking to the opposing party is off limits.

However, a New York estate attorney is allowed to speak to their own client and other witnesses before the deposition. It is quite common for an attorney to prepare their client for the upcoming deposition by asking them questions that may be asked at the deposition, both by that attorney and by opposing counsel. This is an extremely important part of the process as it helps the client be more comfortable with the procedure and what is going to happen.

Attorneys cannot tell their clients what to say, however. This means that they cannot give the specific answers that the client must give so that it would work best for that client’s case. For example, a New York estate attorney cannot tell their client to talk about the testator’s signs of dementia when no signs of dementia existed. However, if the testator did legitimately have signs of dementia, the attorney would be able to discuss with the client how this information should be expressed during questioning at a deposition. The key here is that the attorney cannot either tell or imply to the client that they lie or stretch to truth during a deposition in order to gain the upper hand, but they can help their client when it comes to putting all the information together in a way that makes sense and that the client can express.

Because depositions are, in actuality, testimony under oath, if you have an estate claim that is serious enough that depositions are going to be required, it is essential that you have superior representation before you begin. When you hire a New York estate attorney, you will gain the experience you need to get through your deposition and the depositions of any witnesses or adverse parties to your claim. Call the Law Offices of Albert Goodwin at 718-509-9774.