Wills, Probates and Mediation
A will or a probate becomes relevant for a family at one of the saddest times in their lives. Faced with the loss of a loved one, many grieving families find themselves additionally pained by the complicated issues of inheritance. Even when there is a clear cut will with all the details of inheritance clarified in it, the legality of the document might come into question. Often, such disputes reach the stage where a probate from the legal courts is required to validate the inheritance and resolve the issue. A probate is generally issued by a court when there is no will, to legally declare the inheritance as per the law of the country. On the other hand, a disputed will can be legitimized into a probate by the order of the courts.
Working through all these issues can become extremely difficult for the loved ones, especially since it comes at such a bad time. In fact, studies have shown that the increased emotional state at this time can lead to heightened tension and a breakdown of communication. The application of the law in such situations is not as easy as it sounds, as the facts of all the various claims have to be verified before a decision can be arrived at. Many a times, the strict rigidity and formality of the law court combined with the formal environment can make it even more difficult for people with previous emotional and interpersonal issues to come to a resolution. Instead, the dispute gets exacerbated, sometimes into a full blown legal battle.
This is why mediation has become the preferred way of resolving will and probate related legal issues. In minor cases, it might be recommended by the court of law as a preliminary procedure before issuing the probate; in other cases, the family themselves choose to opt for this route of dispute resolution. Mediation is essentially a useful way of resolving issues which may or may not have a legal implication, without resorting to any type of formal or legal procedures. A mediator, a trained professional with the resources and experience to resolve difficult issues, will conduct meetings and discussions with all the concerned parties. The mediator acts as a neutral third party observer and his or her main job is to facilitate a smooth flow of discussion between the conflicting parties. They do not provide legal advice or indeed any kind of direct guidance; their main role is to help their clients themselves come to a mutually agreed upon decision about the inheritance, one that can benefit everyone involved.
These are some of the advantages of hiring a mediator rather than opting for legal procedures:
- Cost-Effective: A mediator’s services cost much less than the expenditure that would be required for formal processes, legal fees and court cases.
- Time Efficient: Mediation is easy to arrange and can be completed within a few weeks. This much quicker than the time it would take to get the issue to court and obtain a legal verdict.
- Fosters Good Feeling: The formal nature of a court case can often sever family ties and cause lasting damage to relationships. Mediation, being both informal and less severe, is a great way to resolve a dispute without affecting the emotional bond of the bereaved group.
- Control Stays with Individuals: If a dispute reaches the court, the family has no more say over what can happen. They will simply have to follow the court mandate. As opposed to this, mediation allows people to make their own decisions that can be to the advantage of all parties.
- Impartial and Confidential: The mediator is usually completely impartial and does not take sides. They provide a calm, collected environment for discussion and this allows the emotional aspects of the dispute to be side-stepped and creates a logical flow of conversation. Moreover, mediation is a completely confidential process so the family won’t have to worry about unnecessary publicity at such a difficult time.
Mediation allows families to resolve difficult legal issues in a simple, hassle free and cost-effective manner. Even if legal intervention is, ultimately, required, there is nothing to lose by trying this process once.