A Probate Mediator
A Probate Mediator is a crucial element when it comes to handling the estates of loved ones who’ve passed away. Death can often be sudden and unexpected, but there can also be disputes in cases involving extensive planning. The last thing anyone wants is to put additional stress and burdens on our loved ones after we’re gone.
A will, trust, or a beneficiary designation can all help make things easier after our passing. Unfortunately, many people pass away without proper preparation. Even those who do file the necessary paperwork often miss things. This is because it’s difficult to account for and distribute everything we’ve accumulated in our lives. Probate is a legal process followed by the courts to monitor assets after a person has passed away. This process ensures debts are paid and estate proceeds are distributed to heirs and beneficiaries as outlined in the will.
Due to the sensitive nature of the situation, it’s not uncommon for disputes to arise during this process. This is where a probate and guardianship mediator is helpful. Mediation helps both parties come to an agreement without suffering through a long, drawn-out lawsuit. It’s almost impossible to outline every item in a will or trust. This is especially true for items that aren’t easily divided among beneficiaries such as:
- Real estate
A probate mediator helps the probate process move much more smoothly for all parties involved.
What Does a Probate Mediator Do?
Death is a difficult thing for everyone. When a loved one dies emotions run high. Even when a will or trust is present, there are frequent disputes among family members regarding their loved one’s estate. Mediation is a common way to settle these kinds of disputes. This allows someone who’s not emotionally connected to the family or the property the opportunity to assist those involved.
Several months generally pass before probate disputes are ready for mediation. The extended time frame allows for the appointment of a personal representative over the estate. These disputes must be handled with a gentle hand. In most cases, the parties in the dispute know each other, often for the entirety of their lives. Often times unresolved issues creep up during this process. Uncovering these issues and working through them usually helps the settlement progress.
A probate mediator helps bring parties together in order to work through the problems and reach a mutually agreeable solution.
How Does Mediation Work?
The most important thing to understand about mediation is that it’s flexible. This means it can be shaped to meet the needs of all involved parties. The mediator will facilitate discussions. These discussions can happen together or the mediator can meet with the involved parties individually. Mediators help all parties:
- Focus on strengths
- Acknowledge weaknesses
- Understand another point of view
- See the pros and cons of the settlement
- Work through problems
- Come to a mutual understanding
When the mediation is over, the goal is to have all parties walk away with a full settlement agreement. This agreement will be in writing and signed by the involved parties. As long as both parties have the time and dedication to reach an agreement, the outcome will be positive. It’s important to come to the table with an open mind and the willingness to listen and explore various options.
Your mediator will:
- Prioritize issues
- Encourage clients to be realistic
- Encourage flexibility
- Determine and overcome obstructions
A probate mediator is a problem solver. Trial is commonly viewed as a win-lose scenario while mediation strives for a win-win resolution. Don’t attempt these delicate discussions on your own. If there is any possibility that your case may end up in court, consider mediation first. In most scenarios all parties are happier in the end.
Benefits of a Probate Mediator
Probate court must apply the law to the facts in order to reach a legal decision. For example, if the estate includes three parcels of land to be divided among three beneficiaries, there could be some tension. This is especially true if the beneficiaries don’t get along. If the legal result states that they share ownership then there could easily be disagreements about what the property should be used for. An alternative option may be to divide the parcels among the children rather than allowing them to own them jointly. Then each beneficiary is able to manage their parcel as they see fit. Of course this is just one of many possible solutions that a probate mediator can reach.
Mediators help guide all parties to a settlement despite any emotional baggage or grief resulting from the passing of their loved one. They can also assist when it comes to the assignment of guardianship. Battles over guardianship often turn ugly without the assistance of a professional mediator.
Probate, estate, and guardianship laws can be quite complicated and hard to understand. A mediator ensures everyone is on the same page and fully understands the situation and consequences of their options. The most important part of mediation is coming to an agreement. If the case goes to trial then the judge’s decision is final. You may be forced into making agreements you don’t agree with or aren’t comfortable with. Mediation is a way to agree before the case reaches this point.
- The parties are in control — not the court
- The entire process is confidential
- Less expensive than court proceedings
- Faster than court proceedings
- More likely to use mutually agreeable creative solutions
When it comes down to it, resolutions are better reached by the involved parties rather than a court.
Call The Law Offices of Brian Hill, PLLC at (972) 719-2526 today for more information on how Brian Hill can act as your probate and guardianship mediator.