The Role of Mediation in Contesting A Will

Mediation is a very important tool in inheritance cases. Due to the sensitive nature of a lot of cases involving inheritance, it provides a level of care in what can sometimes lead to a very messy situation.

What is mediation?

Mediation is defined as intervention in a dispute in order to resolve it. In legal cases, it is a procedure in which the parties discuss their disputes with a trained impartial third party, who assists them in coming to an agreement, or settlement. This often happens out of court and therefore can make the process of contesting a will much swifter. It is also less formal than a court setting, which can be daunting.

What are the benefits?

  • Cost- The process of mediation still involves costs, including solicitors and mediators’ fees. These costs, however, are very likely to be significantly lower than the cost of going to trial.
  • Time- you can start mediation at any point during the proceedings. It happens out of court, meaning that it can save the time it takes to go through a trial.
  • Effectiveness- mediation is effective in 80% of cases.
  • Control- in mediation, the parties involved have more control in the outcome of a case. The main part of mediation is negotiation, whereas in court, this will be decided by a judge.
  • Confidentiality- The discussions involved in mediation are completely confidential. This does not happen in a court, and the settlement agreement will include a confidentiality clause. This keeps the terms of the settlement confidential.
  • Preserving relationships- in inheritance cases, you are far more likely to have a personal relationship with the other parties, or at least know them. As mediation is a means of negotiation, you are far more likely to be able to keep a relationship with the other people involved.

The process of mediation

The process can be as short as half a day. The parties involved agree on an independent mediator and venue in which to have the mediation. At the mediation, each party usually has their own room, where they discuss their views. The mediator will then go between the two to discuss what the other has said. The mediator will then work with the parties to come to an agreement that is suitable for all involved.

If the parties fail to come to an agreement during the mediation, then neither party can bring anything forward to the court case. It is free from prejudice, and the mediator will not discuss anything with the other party that they have not been authorised to say.

Mediation is less stressful than a court case. It allows you to voice your opinion and be heard, but in a less formal environment than a court room. Will cases particularly suit this method, as the parties discuss subjects that are sensitive. While there is more of an element of compromise, you will usually receive a settlement that is more favourable than one you would receive in a court. You will also be more actively involved in the settlement that you get.

We know that mediation may not always work, and some cases will end up having to go to court. The solicitors we work with are experts in settling matters both in and out of court. Contact us today by filling in the form or calling us on 0161 413 8763 to speak with one of our friendly expert advisors about your potential claim.

Why you should draw up a will

Ah, Wills: it may seem like something you don’t need to do for a long time. Yet there are multiple reasons why you should consider drawing up a will now.

For example, if you have children, a will can clearly state who your child(ren)’s legal guardians would be. Also, who you would want to take care of them in the event anything were to happen to you.

Similarly, you can also specify how those guardians bring up your child(ren) too. For example: should they go to religious schools for their education? Will the child(ren)’s grandparents have access rights?

In addition, you can also use your will to specify what your wishes are for your funeral. This does not simply have to be whether you choose burial or cremation. It can also include

  • any songs to play during the ceremony;
  • where you like the ceremony to be held, and;
  • what you would like to happen to your ashes if you do choose cremation.

Other things you can do in a Will

Some people also use their will to specify that they want to donate their body to a medical research facility, such as the UK Biobank. Or they specify that they wish to donate their organs, too. On this, we would say that you should speak to your friends and family about your wishes too though.

Furthermore, by drawing up a will, you can also state clearly who you want to get what aspects of your estate. To be clear, a person’s ‘estate’ does not refer solely to any property they own, such as a house or a flat, but also all of their possessions and any money, including the contents of ISAs, saving bonds and any investments.

Decide on property division through Wills

Therefore, through Wills, you can leave your property to your direct next of kin. That might mean your spouse or your child(ren), while also leaving individual possessions to specific people inside and outside of your family.

For example, say you have an ornament in a display cabinet that your best friend admires. With a will, you could henceforth specify that they get it once you pass away. Similarly, you might share a hobby with one of your grandchildren (stamp collecting, perhaps). Accordingly, your will can specify that he/she gets your collection when you pass away. Rather than leaving it up to the frailties of common sense to prevail after your death.

On this, it is worth noting that, if you were to die intestate, the rules regarding statutory legacy changed recently.

It makes sense then to draw up a will. It ensures they divide your estate as you wish; therefore, you’re also helping to squelch the possibility that the division of your estate leads to a dispute following your death.

Accordingly, we’d suggest that it will also help those you leave behind. Rather than having to divide your belongings and the potential squabbles this could cause, they can instead focus on grieving your passing.

What you should do about Wills

In the first instance, make sure that you get a will drawn up! Depending upon the complexity of the will you want to draw up, this needn’t cost the earth either. In fact, a simple will could cost you from around £80 to have drawn up depending upon the firm you use.

But a specialist will involving the creation of trusts, overseas properties, etc, cost over £500 to draw up. On this, please note that national laws may apply if you own land and property in other countries. For example, if you own land or property in Italy, Italian law states that this passes automatically to your children upon your death.

However, say one of your family members dies without having left a will (known as ‘dying intestate’). Or you feel that a family member’s will treats you unfairly and the estate is now in dispute. It’s a good idea to speak to someone with experience in the areas of contesting a will or contesting probate.

More About Us

At The Inheritance Experts, we work with specialist legal firms who have a proven track record in handling wills and probate matters. This means they are able to help you get the proportion of the estate you deserve. After your initial consultation with our advisors, which is done on a free no-obligation basis, we will match you with the firm that best suits the circumstances of your claim.

If you believe you are due a portion of an estate and want to know if you have a fair and realistic claim to some or all of it, do not hesitate to get in touch with The Inheritance Experts via the contact form on our website or by calling 0161 413 8763.

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