Mediation for Inheritance Disputes

What are the Advantages of Mediation for Inheritance Disputes?

Inheritance disputes can be difficult to resolve. They are often very emotional, with strong feelings by claimants toward the deceased person, as well as between the claimants themselves, if there are several. There is a combination of grief, conflicting personal expectations, and the possibility of monetary gain—all of which make it difficult to find resolutions to disputes.

How to contest a will

English law can make it challenging to contest a will successfully. It errors on the side of respecting the wishes of the person who died, regardless of whether those wishes are what the family or friends were expecting. The Wills Act of 1837 remains in force as we approach its two hundredth anniversary, and it protects the right of every adult to dispose of their real and personal property as they wish. It outlines the requirements of a valid will and the conditions under which one can be contested.

How can you contest a will? You must be able to prove one of the following:
• Lack of testamentary capacity or the legal and mental ability to create a valid will
• The deceased was under undue influence or coercion
• Lack of knowledge and approval by the deceased
• Forgery and fraud

Why use mediation for inheritance disputes

There are several reasons why inheritance dispute mediation is preferable to using litigation and the courts. The first reason is confidentiality. Anything discussed in court proceedings becomes part of the public record. Because inheritance disputes involve intense emotions and family history and issues, many people feel more comfortable keeping the discussion private and confidential.

Mediation is also a much more time and cost effective method for resolving inheritance disputes. Rather than hiring an expensive lawyer in courts where delays are common, mediation brings both parties together to communicate face to face. By paraphrasing and reframing the matters, the mediator helps participants find common ground, allowing them to come to a mutually beneficial agreement that not only solves the problem at hand, but also maintains and often strengthens preexisting relationships.

Inheritance mediation also ensures that both sides are involved in the resolution. There are no "guilty" or "innocent" parties and no finger pointing. Everyone works together to find a common solution.

There is no need for these disagreements to tear apart families during an already difficult time. If you are contesting a will or disputing inheritance, then mediation is a more cost effective, personal approach to securing a harmonious path moving forward than the court system usually allows.

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