If you are an attorney, you are probably already familiar with hiring an expert witness for your case. Choosing the right expert witness is important. Most attorneys have worked with expert witnesses at some point in their career, but most haven’t hired a Forensic Document Examiner.
If your case involves a forged check, a last will and testament, a pre-nuptial agreement, a contract, or a signature that doesn’t seem to be authentic, you should be looking for a Forensic Document Examiner.
You should know a couple of things before you make your first phone call to a Forensic Document Examiner. First of all, how many documents do you need to be analyzed? These are the documents that you and your client think may be forged or not authentic. The Forensic Document Examiner will refer to these as “questioned documents”. This is important to know since the Forensic Document Examiner will charge a fee per questioned document.
Most Forensic Document Examiners charge a flat rate between $600 – $1500 for a written opinion of one or two documents. Rates do vary depending on the number of questioned documents. Attorneys can also request a retainer. Retainers can vary, but are normally $2,500 and most are non-refundable. You should download the fees from the Forensic Document Examiner’s website to avoid any surprises.
You will also need to provide samples of your client’s known handwriting so the Forensic Document Examiner can compare them against the questioned document(s). These exemplars are commonly referred to as Known Documents. The known documents should be from the same time frame and you should provide as many known documents as you can. For a Forensic Document Examiner to do the best job possible, the known samples should also be a high-quality copy. No one is going to win a case by looking at a poor fax copy.
Do you have to hire a local Forensic Document Examiner?
Most attorneys and clients feel they have to hire someone in their own hometown. However, this simply isn’t true anymore. Most cases these days can be inspected through high-resolution scans, email, faxes, and overnight mail. Since the Covid-19 situation, courts around the country are accepting zoom testimony from both attorneys and expert witnesses. This expands your ability to hire the best in the USA and not restrict yourself to a local expert.
If your case involves originals, and the originals can’t be sent overnight, then you might incur an additional travel expense so the Forensic Document Examiner can review the original documents.
Is it worth it to hire a Forensic Document Examiner and pay them to travel?
Hiring a Forensic Document Examiner is like buying a parachute. You never want to buy a parachute based on the lowest price. You would always want to buy the safest parachute regardless of cost. Hiring a Forensic Document Examiner is no different. You want the most qualified and experienced examiner for your case and not the examiner who is the closest. You can tell who the most qualified and experienced examiner is by looking at their Curriculum Vitae. That is just a fancy word for resume.
If you are looking to hire a Forensic Document Examiner for your case, contact us now to schedule an appointment. https://handwritingexpertdallas.com
This article was written by Mari Baggett
How To Spot a Forgery
Perhaps this can be explained using a well-known example from television.
If you haven’t heard of or seen the Netflix documentary, ‘Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness’, it is a seven-part docu-series that follows people who own private zoos. These zoo owners have large animals like Lions, Tigers, Cougars, and more. The show documents the zoo owners, their interaction with other zoo owners, and their treatment of the animals.
One zoo owner is named Carole Baskin. The show often featured her and the mysterious disappearance of her multi-millionaire husband Jack Donald ‘Don’ Lewis.
After watching the show, fans had questioned whether Carole had any involvement in the sudden disappearance of her husband and whether she forged Don’s name on a Will and on a Power of Attorney.
Since the show aired and gained popularity, www.HandwritingExpertDallas.com has stated that the Will and the Power of Attorney were indeed forged.
How is a Handwriting Expert able to tell that something is forged? Handwriting is unique to each person, and no two individual’s handwriting will be identical. Because of this, every person’s handwriting is as unique as a fingerprint.
www.HandwritingExpertDallas.com compared the Will and the Power of Attorney to other known documents of Don Lewis. Both documents had signs of forgery which include tremors, pen lifts and hesitations, and slow speed.
The two Handwriting Experts who reviewed the documents after the show gained popularity, had each concluded Don Lewis’ signature appeared to have been “traced” from his 1991 marriage record.
If you are working with a document that you think maybe forged or traced, contact us today and ask for Megan L. https://handwritingexpertdallas.com/contact/.