The death of a loved one often brings out the worst in family members. Hurt feelings over an unequal division of assets, surprises or disappointments over decisions in an estate plan can reawaken old jealousies and resentments, which may have been festering for years. Suddenly, people are at each other’s throats. In some cases, those relationships can never be repaired.
Thoughtful Resolutions for Families
We can use Mediation or the Collaborative Practice approach to any type of family dispute, whether it involves elder care, control of property or assets, disagreements about trust administration, or division of the estate among the heirs. A mediator (or sometimes a team of two) provides a neutral third party to assist the family in resolving disputes through respectful and creative dialog.
Collaborative Practice is an alternative dispute resolution model similar to mediation involving an interdisciplinary team of professionals. Each person has their own attorney, but everyone is seen as part of a team working together to help avoid stressful and costly litigation, and allowing the participants to control outcomes and find solutions with non-biased professional support. This respectful process creates dialogue and understanding, preserves family relationships, and lowers costs, while avoiding the damage done by emotional conflict and potential courtroom drama.
Collaborative Practice can be effectively utilized in Trust & Estates matters including:
- Contests over a will or estate
- Guardianship and conservatorship disputes
- Financial elder abuse
- Disputes between beneficiaries and/or trustees