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Dispute Resolution Including Arbitration and Mediation

Securing solutions without having a judge decide.

Alternative Dispute Resolution is a modern way finding a solution to problems without the involvement of the courts. If you are involved in a dispute with heirs or beneficiaries of an estate, you should strongly consider using arbitration or mediation to resolve your issues. Families too often are torn apart after the death of a family member. Whether the dispute concerns (1) who should be in charge or (2) how the estate administration should proceed, or (3) what each heir or beneficiary should receive, arbitration or mediation provide methods to resolve disputes.

Arbitration allows a chosen neutral to make the decisions concerning the issues in your dispute. The arbitrator resolves the matter instead of a trial judge, but just like a court order, the arbitration award is binding on the parties. Arbitration is governed by very specific rules and as such, an arbitration award (or order) is fully enforceable through the court system. While there is judicial oversight of the arbitration award, it is quite difficult to overturn an arbitration award. The advantage of using arbitrator is that the parties can choose who makes the final decision in their case. The timetable for deciding the case is left to the parties instead of waiting months, if not years, for the trial court to hear your case. The disadvantage is you must pay the arbitrator for his time whereas you do not have to pay a judge to hear your case. Arbitration is often a decision made by the parties, but sometimes arbitration is required because of a contract or other written agreement.

Mediation allows a neutral to assist the parties in finding a resolution to their issues without the necessity of going to court and having a trial. A good mediator can help the parties find common ground, and ultimately, the goal is a resolution to the issues in the case. Mediation is not binding but most courts require mediation before the court will set the matter down for trial. A mediator requires the parties to show up and make an effort to resolve the issues in the case. Even if you’ve yet to file suit, you can attempt mediation as an alternative to filing a lawsuit in court. If mediation fails, you can always decide to proceed with a lawsuit, or simply continue your dispute in court. Mediation is a very economical method of resolving a probate dispute. Of equal importance, mediation often facilitates an easier “repair” to family relationships because it can allow parties to reach an agreement without a lawsuit; it is quite difficult to resume a family relationship after the bruising battles that occur in a courtroom.

Nationally, 75% of all civil disputes that participate in mediation end successfully.

More than 9 out of 10 probate cases mediated by Mr. Hughes result in a settlement.