The mediation process can be daunting for those who are looking to dispute a Will. It can be especially stressful when confronting family or close friends over the death of a loved one.
When entering the mediation process, you may be worried about several things. These may include the potential cost of going to court and the damage and strain it could take on your family. The court process can be gruelling, but mediation is a chance to mend things properly.
A good mediator can work miracles. They can save you tens of thousands of dollars in lawyer fees and possibly even help mend relationships by opening up channels of communication.
The benefits of a successful mediation process are multifaceted. You can move on from worrying about legal costs and fights with relatives to being able to enjoy your inheritance. It can also prevent fractious family disputes and help parties find some emotional closure after the death of their relative.
What is the mediation process?
Mediation is a negotiation between two or more parties, assisted by a skilled and neutral third party in resolving a dispute. The mediator is responsible for helping to find a solution that will benefit both parties.
It is not the mediator’s place to take sides; they are only interested in helping the parties reach a solution. Every mediator is different and will handle a situation in a different way.
Mediation is typically held in a venue agreed by both parties for mediation. However, the mediation can take place over phone as well. Typical venues might include a solicitor’s offices or potentially a meeting or hotel room. In some cases, the home of one of the parties has been used.
There is no obligation to meet the other party, as some mediation can be held with both parties present but in different rooms with the mediator acting as an intermediary. This not recommended in most cases, but not all, as often having both parties present can do much to help move the process along smoothly.
What happens during the mediation process?
A typical mediation process begins with an open joint meeting where both parties are encouraged to speak to each other about the dispute. This is an opportunity for each party to express themselves in terms of how the dispute has affected them, what they want to achieve from mediation and how the other party can help them do this.
Each party will have ample and equal time to talk and ask questions of the other party. Mean while the mediator takes note of issues that are I dispute so they can direct the conversation as it progresses towards a resolution.
After the initial meeting both parties are separated and given the opportunity discuss obstacles to the settlement, and ideas to move the negotiation forward.
The next major step in the mediation process considering and making offers. These can be discussed in private with each party. Occasionally the mediator may deliver the offer, but it is encouraged that the party makes the offer in person; the reason being that you will get a better idea of how close you are to your offer being accepted by the other party based on tone and body language.
Often court solutions lead to all or nothing results; whereas parties in mediation can arrive at a much more mutually beneficial result.
Further joint meetings may be called for, but often, if the deal is close, then an agreement will be written up and signed by all parties involved.
Things to know about the process
If you cannot reach a resolution, the mediation process may be extended. If this is not an option then inevitably this will lead to court proceedings. However, optimally both parties will come to a resolution before this.
It is recommended you at least seek advice from a solicitor before entering the mediation process. A solicitor will give you experienced advice as to how you should approach the meditation process. You can expect the mediation process to take anywhere up to six hours on average.
The mediation process can be complicated and emotionally fraught. However, the results can be beneficial for all parties.
We hope that our outline of the mediation process has given you some confidence and security going into the process. If you would like more information on Will disputes, do not hesitate to call Hentys Lawyers.