Trusts & Estate Mediation

Conflict about the dispositions of an estate?

A difference of opinion about what the deceased intended?

Beneficiaries having difficulty making decisions where they are granted choices under the will or trust by the testator or trustor?

Beneficiaries questioning the role or decisions of the fiduciary?

Conflict regarding breach of fiduciary duty?

Conflicts involving family members and property can be exacerbated by strong emotions, clouding the parties’ ability to handle challenges presented from a trust or will.

Consider Mediation:

The parties, usually family members, may be able to work out a resolution with the assistance of an impartial mediator. Mediation offers an opportunity to resolve the conflict as well as to mend or protect the relationship.  Parties can bring creative ideas that are often unique to their family circumstances to resolve issues in ways not available in court.

Consider Facilitation:

Often issues that bother parties in an estate matter, and that have the potential to become larger, also can be resolved by the parties discussing the matter with the assistance of an independent facilitator. Sometimes bereaving family member need to be heard and understood and need help understanding what others are really saying. A trusted independent facilitator can often help the parties understand each other and move forward in the business of the estate while preserving a relationship with each other.

Consider Mediation or Facilitation to Prevent Family Conflict:

It is sometimes advisable for people who are creating a trust or preparing their will to discuss their intentions with the future beneficiaries in order to address any potential conflicts before death.  An independent facilitator can help keep the discussion productive and help the parties move through potential hot topics.  Where conflict about an estate or trust arises while the person who created the trust or will is still able to engage in discussion, mediation may be useful to resolve the conflict when the trustor/testator still can do something to help prevent a dispute in the making.

Carol Kingsley has experience working with many clients in connection with estate and trust matters, both advising and creating documentation as an attorney and helping parties address estate and trust concerns and resolve conflict as a mediator and facilitator.