How Are Estate Disputes Settled?

We all like to think that a well-planned estate and written will can prevent any and all problems with our estate when we die. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. For example, when parents die, one child may feel their sibling has received more than their allotted share of their parents’ estate, or might feel they are being cut out unfairly. Coupled with the grief of losing a loved one, these disputes can quickly turn into major headaches for both sides involved. Because they can escalate rapidly, estate disputes can lead not only to expensive legal bills for both sides to pay, but lingering animosity between family members that may never be reconciled.

So what is the best solution for estate disputes that doesn’t lead to them winding up in court? Most judges and attorneys are turning to mediation as an alternative to expensive lawsuits and other legal wrangling by one party or the other. Also called ‘Alternative Dispute Resolution’, mediation allows all involved parties to sit down together in a neutral setting and share their concerns. This venting and sharing by all parties can allow them to work together more cooperatively toward a solution that will be mutually beneficial. In mediation, neither side is seen as ‘winning’ or ‘losing’; rather, everyone is seen as being on equal footing.

A major benefit to utilizing mediation over the traditional court system is the savings of time and money. Pursuing an estate dispute through the court system can be incredibly expensive, stressful, and time-consuming. The legal system does not move hastily, so disputes can languish for months or even years, dragging out the process and causing even more acrimony between the parties. The expense involved with a long court fight also means one side or the other may wind up spending the money they were granted in their portion of the estate solely on legal fees. Mediation avoids both of these issues, allowing disputes to be resolved as quickly and cleanly as possible.

For professional estate planning services, contact our business lawyers at Gerkin & Decker today!

Estate Planning FAQ

Is it serious to not have a will? According to statistics, roughly 55% of Americans die each year intestate (without some kind of will or trust in place). This means the laws of the state you die in will determine who receives your property by...
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