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Alternatives to trial can resolve estate disputes faster

When your loved one passed away, you thought things were bad enough. Nothing could have prepared you for the way your family reacted, though. Suddenly, there were disputes over some of the most trivial things, and you have had to step in to make sure your loved one's wishes were carried out accurately.

You want to avoid trial. It's costly and time-intensive. So, what can you do? Here are two options that you may want to consider. Both mediation and arbitration can keep a case out of the court room while still allowing it to be settled in a reasonable amount of time. You may save time, money and your family's relationship by choosing one of these two options.

1. Mediation

One of the first ways you can try to resolve an estate dispute or will contest is through mediation. One of the reasons that mediation is so good is because it allows you and the other people involved in the dispute to talk with one another in a calm, professional environment. It's a relaxed atmosphere, but with a third-party mediator there to help guide you, it's a good place to talk business without emotions getting in the way.

Mediation sessions are not usually binding, though they can be in some instances. Instead, you and the other party or parties involved in the case will talk about what you'd like to see happen to resolve the dispute. In the best-case scenario, you'll work out your problems, and your attorneys will draw up a settlement or other agreement right away. In worst-case scenarios, no one will agree, and the case can continue to arbitration or trial.

2. Arbitration

If mediation doesn't seem firm enough, you could try arbitration instead. The benefit of arbitration is that it is slightly more formal and will have a final decision made that is legally binding.

Arbitration works similarly to a trial. Both sides present their information, and then the arbitrator makes a decision. You can have your attorney or attorneys present to help make your case, too. In the end, the decision made by the arbitrator will be binding.

Both mediation and arbitration can be a good way to resolve disputes involving wills or estates. Your attorney can talk to you more about these options if you're involved in a dispute with family. The right choice could make a difference in the way your family works together in the future.

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Mason & Helmers
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