Why Use ADR For Handling Contested Estates?
Mediation, or the alternative form of dispute resolution handled by professional neutral parties, is a good way to resolve cases involving estates and wills instead of taking the case through a costly, time consuming trial. When parties are involved in a case of a contested will, according to Margarite Simon, “A good mediator will assist with creative solutions appropriate to the facts of each case. These solutions may include provisions to buy out real estate, to modify percentages amongst beneficiaries, or to provide for a special needs beneficiary. The possibilities are not restricted by the pleadings, thus, allowing for creative solutions appropriate to the particular estate to be reached at the mediation.”
In other words, mediators in these types of cases have a lot more flexibility with how they assist in coming to a beneficial solution to the dispute between parties. A judge, attorneys, and juries are bound by strict laws and regulations, and therefore do not have the same flexibility as to how to resolve the dispute. Mediators, with the help of the parties involved, can come up with much more creative solutions to the conflict than could be obtained in a court of law.
In addition to more flexible and creative solutions, mediators can also drastically cut the costs and time involved in a typical court case, as well as help the parties involved in the dispute to resolve their issues in a peaceful manner, thus retaining their relationship without adding feelings of animosity, guilt, remorse, etc.
During this specific type of litigation, where parties are handling disputes over estates and wills, they are often in emotional distress, which can cause them to say or do things that they normally wouldn’t. Because of this, it is a good idea to have a mediator present to help them work through these emotions and problems that they are facing instead of taking the issue to court.
Mediation, because of the flexibility it offers regarding the solution to the dispute, can present the parties involved with a greater sense of closure regarding the way the dispute is resolved.
In addition to these advantages of mediation over litigation, it is often the case that parties feel more a part of the case and the outcome with mediation than in a court setting. They are able to more freely state their opinions and issues they may have, and have more control of the proceedings than they would if the case went to trial.
With mediation, there is also the option that the parties can have separate mediation sessions if they do not wish to be around the other person. This way the mediator can see both parties involved and help them reach a resolution to the conflict without them having to be around each other.
In conclusion, mediation is often a better way to resolve disputes than costly, time consuming court cases. As Margarite Simon states: “Mediation promotes discourse amongst the parties, uncovers strengths and weakness of the case, and prioritizes and/or reveals the need for further discovery, all of which expedites settlement.”
Simon, Margarite T. "Successful Mediation Of Estate Litigation."New Jersey Law Journal. N.p., 2 Apr. 2015. Web. 7 July 2015. http://www.njlawjournal.com/home/id=1202722400011?slreturn=20150622200919.