When it comes to a dispute regarding a loved one’s estate plan, is estate litigation the inevitable result? Not necessarily. It is possible to address disputes regarding a loved one’s estate plan through forms of alternative dispute resolution, including mediation. Mediation can be a way for families in California to put their differences aside and work together to come to a resolution that meets everyone’s needs.
Mediation can be preferable to estate litigation, because it allows all parties, including the elder person whose estate is the subject of the dispute if he or she is still alive, to communicate their concerns and preferences. It is a way to preserve relationships and encourage healthy communication. Mediators may also connect parties to community resources that could help them.
However, it is important to remember that a mediator is not a final decision-maker, and any agreements made during the mediation process are not legally binding. Instead, a mediator serves as a neutral third-party who facilitates discussions between the parties. For this reason, if one party refuses to participate in mediation, the mediation process may fail. In additions, sometimes, it is in the best interests of all for each party to the dispute to retain their own legal counsel who can explain the law and how it applies to their case.
In the end, though, many people find mediation preferable to a litigious courtroom battle. Mediation allows them to preserve their relationship with loved ones, while still letting them feel like their opinions and concerns are being addressed. While it may be necessary to take a case to court, it can help to pursue the guidance needed to determine if mediation is an option. If it is, it could save all parties a lot in the way of money, time and heartache.