Estate mediation is needed when beneficiaries dispute a will. Arguments over inheritance can take many forms and can involve a number of different parties within the family. It can also include charities and other beneficiaries outside of the family.
We offer a full range of estate mediation options and can accommodate participants across Canada or the rest of the world.
Communication is often the first obstacle to resolution. In one case, we had two siblings who had not spoke in over 25 years. Neither really remembered the root of their conflict, but were caught up in grief and anger. We worked with people to rebuilt communication and reach a reasonable agreement.
Undue influence is often a claim in estate mediation. Part of our process is to assess the nature of these claims and help mitigate their damage. We will often call on other professionals, like doctors and therapist, in addressing these concerns.
The First Step
Lawyers play an important role in estate mediation and are often involved well before the mediator. Executors often hire lawyers when a will is challenged. If the parties agree to mediation, they often select from a list of mediators supplied by the lawyers. However, this does not stop you from proposing our services or using us directly.
Once selected as a mediator, the first step is to meet individually with the parties and/or there lawyers. It is at this stage that we screen for undue influence factors. It is very important to screen early, as these claims can be the “elephant in the room” at mediation.
The next step is generally information gathering. When the parties have lawyers, the lawyers will prepare “Mediation Brief’s”. In these Briefs, they will lay out their client’s position, any relevant facts, and any appropriate law.
If lawyers are not involved, we help you identify the key issues and brainstorm resolution.
Once the necessary information is gathered and shared, the estate mediation mediation can commence. What it actually looks like will depend a lot on the parties. They have the power to decide.
Estate mediation is private. These disputes are settled without court intervention. This creates an environment of openness and transparency among the parties.
Ultimately, estate mediation is collaborative and often improves relationships long after the process has ended.
The Mediation Advantage
Faster — The process is faster and more meaningful because the parties are working together to find solutions rather “battling it out” in court.
Affordable — Both parties control the process and share in the cost of the mediation.
Confidential — Decisions reached by the parties remain private, unless otherwise agreed.
Improved Communication — The mediation process often builds more effective communication strategies, which lead to reduced conflict and more cooperation.
Flexible — Unlike a court order, the parties can renegotiate their agreement at any time, for the fraction of the cost of returning to court.
Most mediations result in a complete agreement. Those that result in partial agreement still benefit from reduced trial time and cost.