Probate Court Mediation
As a trained Mediator, I assist parties in peacefully and respectfully resolving the outstanding issues that confront them concerning matters pending in the Probate Courts.
Increasingly, parties are coming to Probate Court to dispute the resolution of matters concerning Wills and Trusts. The issues are varied. Some involve allegations of undue influence upon the deceased – claims that an individual attempted to influence an individual when he or she was vulnerable – thereby diverting assets that would have been left to other individuals or family members. Other conflicts involve the actual administration of the probate estate or the trust assets. People often nominate family members to be their personal representative or successor trustee and that individual has little experience in financial matters. This leads to allegations of inappropriate expenditures and breach of fiduciary duties.
As these matters often involve family members, it is an area that is most appropriate for a mediated solution. The process supports a non-adversarial approach to the resolution of issues among the parties. It assists them to understand all of the issues and to work out creative solutions geared to the needs of the parties involved. This places control over the resolution with the parties rather than with attorneys, judges, or court personnel.
Mediation can assist in working past the conflict so that the family does not remain splintered for a generation due to the actions of administering an estate or trust. Experience has shown that settlements reached through mediation are more likely to be accepted and honored by all parties than those reached through the traditional adversarial process. Such agreements are also likely to be worked out more quickly and at less expense.
Most importantly, this process an save the probate or trust estate thousands of dollars in costs and attorneys fees that would be incurred in going to trial. This results in more assets being available for the beneficiaries and heirs – a win/win solution.
As an attorney experienced in probate law and as a trained mediator, I can use my knowledge and experience to assist parties in resolving their contested probate disputes – preserving the trust or estate assets – and preserving the family relationship.