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Wills and probates are meant to solve the legal issues surrounding an inheritance but often they can end up complicating the issue even more. This is because the law is designed to solve disputes in a logical manner, but inheritance disputes often have a lot more to do with heightened emotions and hurt feelings, rather than the technicalities of a legal document. The time of bereavement is hard enough in any case, and the emergence of multiple claims and a disputed will can make the whole situation extremely turbulent. The loss of a loved one and the grief than ensues can end up distorting the perception of close friends and family members. When all parties are emotionally disturbed in this way, any communication about the inheritance can easily break down.
Many people think that the only solution is to get legal intervention. This can be in the form of formal procedures or a court case which brings the matter under the official jurisdiction of the courts. In this kind of structured, formal atmosphere, there is no scope for meaningful communications. Instead, the parties involved will simply have to state their case and accept the judgment of an external judge. Of course, there are situations where this process simply cannot be avoided. However, that is not true of all inheritance disputes. Whether it is a contested will, a controversial probate or an intestate death, mediation can often be a much more effective solution than legal intervention. In fact, many courts choose to recommend mediation before finalizing the decision.
Mediation is useful in the inheritance process for many reasons:
- It creates an atmosphere of calm and collected decision making
- All parties get to state their claim and explain what they would require from this decision
- The presence of a third party mediator can really help to keep the discussion on track and prevent emotional outbursts
- Mediators are trained professionals who know how to keep the discussion on track and prevent circular arguments that rehash old grudges
- The extreme grief and tension from the recent bereavement can often alter people’s perception of the issue and the mediator can help to create a more neutral starting point for the discussion
- The aim is to agree upon a solution that caters to the needs of all the parties. This usually means some amount of compromise, which the mediator is skilled at negotiating. The mediator does not offer any advice but can be an excellent witness and guidance through the discussion process.
- There might be multiple issues at hand to resolve, and the mediator can help the family tackle all these issues one by one and come to a unified solution
Mediation also offers many practical benefits. It is much cheaper than going for legal procedures, which typically involve different types of legal fees and costs. Such procedures can also take many weeks, months and sometimes even years, as opposed to mediation which usually does not last more than a few weeks.
At the end of the day, there is nothing to lose when undertaking mediation. It can have many different outcomes. Sometimes, the decision might be completely resolved while in other cases, a part of the dispute might be resolved. It is definitely worth one try as mediation is much less emotionally damaging than a court case.
Need help with a dispute over Wills and Probate call us today on 03300 101 354