Sometimes the sloth-like pace of justice is the result of lawyers delaying things. Not always, but sometimes. Other times the culprit might be a judge who takes too long to render a decision, or a clerk's office that loses critical documents. I see all of that, every month.
Sometimes, however, it's not the fault of the court system or those of us connected to it. Sometimes it's family.
I was in Surrogate's Court this morning on a simple probate matter. A woman was smart enough to prepare a will before she died. It was a simple will. Nothing fancy. She left her stuff to a handful of relatives - but not all the relatives who would have benefited if she had no will.
So now we had relatives who felt no incentive to cooperate with the process, because, after all, what was in it for them? Must be nice to have family like that.
We had to deliver a "citation" to one of those relatives. A citation in a Surrogate's Court probate proceeding is simply formal notice that if you want to object to the will, or you have a problem with the executor, you must come to court at 9:30 in the morning on a date stated in the citation. If you don't show up, the court assumes you are OK with the proceeding moving ahead.
Court rules required that the citation be delivered in-hand. We sent a sheriff's deputy to the relative's home. He wouldn't open the door. Three times the deputy went, and three times he was rebuffed.
So now, thanks to this loving relative, the rest of the family must wait even longer for the decedent's simple will to be probated, and the family must spend more money to get a court order allowing service of the citation by alternate means.
Not my idea of family values.