Updated: December 4, 2012
Will, trust and inheritance disputes are highly emotional matters and often involve millions of dollars. Frequently a dispute centers on a family heirloom or personality conflict.
Again, mediation is often an excellent way to settle this type of case. The personal aspects of mediation which gives each side the opportunity to state its case and the reasons behind it. This, together with the non-threatening atmosphere where individuals are permitted to make a voluntary settlement, are distinct advantages of mediation. Mediation should always be tried and sometimes tried a second or subsequent time.
Any interested person may contest the validity of a will or trust. An interested person is anyone who is a beneficiary of a prior will or trust or anyone who would receive an inheritance if there were no will or trust. Usually, there is a short time period within which to act, so do not wait but get legal counsel immediately. The usual basis for a contest are:
Once the contest has been filed, mediation should be pursued to minimize costs and seek a quick end to the controversy. There have been cases which appeared to be totally impossible that have been settled by the effective mediation representation of both parties by alert lawyers facilitated by a skilled and adept mediator who had 14 straight cases settle; no doubt due to his mediation talents. Mediation is a relatively new technique and is meeting with excellent success as a settlement tool.