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Probate and Estate Litigation Blog

How does a mediation work?

In at least one prior post, this blog has mentioned that in some cases, it may be advantageous for a Saint Paul, Minnesota, resident who is facing a will conflict or other court battle over a probate matter to try to use medication as a way of resolving the case. In the right types of case, mediation can get a dispute solved without a person having to devote a lot of time and expense to protracted and stressful litigation.

Although many Minnesotans could probably get a general idea of what mediation entails just by the name, only those who have actually been through a mediation may have a specific idea of how it works. The key point for a person to remember is that a mediator does not make decisions about the case and has no right to do so. The mediator is only there to help opponents in litigation communicate and agree to enough so as to settle the case.

The good news in this setup is that if a person does not like how a mediation is going, then he or she is generally free to pack up and walk away. Although many courts will require parties to put at least some good faith effort into settling a case, a person does not have to sign or agree to anything.

It is also important that people know up front that most of what takes place in a mediation is confidential and cannot be used in court.

On a practical level, a mediation will usually involve a paid mediator, who has been picked by the parties either with or without help from the court, getting the parties together for a conference. The conference can be conducted in a variety of ways and can also vary with respect to duration. Some mediations end after an hour, while others can carry on for days.

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