The Benefits of Mediation in a Probate Proceeding

 

Probate proceedings are often an emotional, tedious, and expensive process. You may be locked into a legal battle with another family member, which is painful enough as it is. Unfortunately, the problem may be compounded by court delays and growing expenses related to litigation as you approach trial.

In addition, probate courts, like most courts, often have unmanageable dockets and would prefer to resolve cases in an expeditious manner. For this reason, courts will almost always order contested probate cases to some form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) prior to trial. One form of ADR is mediation.

Why Participate in Mediation?

  • The person whose estate is in conflict would not have wanted his or her loved ones to fight. Mediation is an opportunity to amicably resolve a dispute, without the emotional minefield of a trial. For some family members, trial may be a nuclear option, from which there can be no reconciliation.
  • Over-crowded court dockets often make it difficult to actually get trial settings. Delays in actually getting a trial date are incredibly common. This is because the increasing number of probate cases that are filed is outpacing the creation of new courts to handle the higher caseloads. It is much easier and quicker to set up a mediation than to obtain a trial setting.
  • Trial is incredibly expensive and time consuming. It can be cost-prohibitive for many people to hire an attorney for trial. This is because an attorney has to spend many hours preparing for trial, then days-to-weeks at a time dedicated solely to your case during trial. Mediation significantly reduces your attorney’s fees as you avoid the expenses associated with trial.
  • The outcome of trial can be unpredictable. It can result in a completely unfavorable outcome for you. In addition, you may be ordered to pay the other party’s attorney’s fees if you lose. In addition, even if you prevail at trial, there is always the chance of a prolonged appeal. A successful mediation will result in a legally binding settlement agreement. This means that you have reached an outcome that you have agreed to, and that this agreement is not subject to uncertainty as an appeal is unlikely with an agreement.

I can help you through the probate process. For decades, I have fought for clients in complex probate disputes. My team and I will provide you with thoughtful guidance and advice so that you can make fully informed decisions from beginning to end. The Law Offices of Robert S. Thomas are here to serve you. Call us today by phone at 847-392-5893 or visit our website to set up a consultation.

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