Probate Disputes – Mediation Through Understanding

Probate Disputes - Mediation Through Understanding

Probate disputes are lengthy affairs that, when coupled with legal fees, can be very expensive procedures to go through. Mediation is a cost effective alternative to legal proceedings and aims to resolve disputes without the need to go to court. The process involves an independent third party, known as the mediator, help both sides reach an agreement. The process is treated with strict confidentiality and the decision making rests solely with the participants involved.

The fundamental purpose of Mediation is to help establish some common ground between the parties upon which an agreement can be made. The process focuses much less on the legal framework surrounding the dispute at hand, and more so at the interests and intentions of the parties involved. It is therefore the primary aim of the first meeting to establish what each party wants out of the agreement and to ensure that the eventual solution addresses as many of the parties key interests as possible. Failure to ensure this will make a subsequent agreement unfeasible.

To help ascertain each party’s interests, an opening statement is made by both setting out how the dispute arose, their feelings towards to it and what they would like to change. In joint meetings, both sides are encouraged to reveal their interests to the other side, giving them an opportunity to listen and hopefully appreciate their view, whilst not necessarily agreeing with it. This appreciation may not be immediate, but by setting out their feelings in a controlled, calm environment, it is hoped that both parties will eventually be able to reflect and, in turn, come to a mutual understanding. This human approach helps make a mediation session a far more effective tool in comparison to a day in court, where formalities must be observed at all times. Of course, there are situations where joint meetings cannot take place, but where they do, it serves as a direct improvement in communication between the parties.

The mediation process operates as a very effective alternative to legal proceedings. Not only is mediation potentially far more cost effective, but also a lot less time consuming too. Discussions occur on a human level and the informal environment helps aid conversation and subsequent agreement. At Seatons, our team of highly trained solicitors have a wealth of experience dealing in Mediation and provide clear, easy to understand legal advice at low sensible fees. For more information, feel free to give us a call on 01536 276300.