Inheritance disputes can be challenging to resolve. They can involve a lifetime of emotions with the deceased and other claimants under the will. In the event of an inheritance dispute, it is typically best to attempt to resolve the dispute without going to trial, using mediation. The time and cost of going to court could be so significant that it outweighs the amount of your inheritance.
Mediation is the first and least disruptive step to resolution in an inheritance dispute. In fact, courts view parties that decline mediation negatively, especially when one party is willing and the other party refuses. Courts may consider this refusal as unreasonable conduct, therefore lowering the refusing party’s award as a result.
Benefits Inheritance Dispute Mediation
There are a number of benefits to using mediation to resolve inheritance disputes, including:
- Cost: Mediation does involve certain costs, such as mediator’s fees. However, even these costs are substantially lower than those involved with going to trial. Even if you are unhappy with the settlement sum you accept through mediation, the cost risks of going to court could put you in an even worse position in the long-run.
- Time: From start to finish, an inheritance dispute trial could take up to 18 months or longer to reach a resolution. This lengthy process can be incredibly stressful for all claimants and family members involved. Mediation settlements typically settle on the day of mediation or shortly thereafter, if certain parties need some time to think things over.
- Confidentiality: Court proceedings are public, and decisions made are matters of public record. Mediation settlements, on the other hand, should contain a confidentiality clause to keep the settlement terms confidential. Additionally, mediation discussions are “without prejudice”, which means that parties cannot refer to offers and discussions made at mediation if the dispute is not resolved that day.
- Control: In a trial, a judge decides the outcome. In mediation, the parties have more control over the terms of the agreement.
While inheritance dispute mediation offers a number of benefits, some cases simply cannot be resolved outside of the courtroom. If litigation is the only viable path toward resolution in your case, you need an experienced probate litigation attorney on your side. The accomplished legal team at Shaw Cowart LLP has the experience, knowledge, and resources needed to protect your rights and best interests in these complicated and emotionally-charged matters. Our skilled estate lawyers will assess your dispute and recommend the most effective approach for your case.
Contact Shaw Cowart LLP Today
To learn more about how the Austin, Texas probate attorneys at Shaw Cowart LLP can help in your inheritance dispute, contact our office today online or at 512-858-8211 to schedule a confidential consultation.