The development of an estate plan, and/or the death of a family member, can lead to challenging and pervasive conflicts within the family.
It is not uncommon for one or more family members to dispute gifts or other provisions in wills, to raise claims regarding distribution and management of a trust or other estate asset(s), and/or to challenge the division of a decedent’s property. During a time of loss, emotions surrounding these delicate issues may be heightened. Just when family members most need one another’s support, issues involving estates and trusts may impair or jeopardize family relationships, now and in the future. Particularly when will or trust provisions were unknown to some or all members of the family, or are contrary to the expectations of at least some family members, old family dynamics often play out and communication can deteriorate rapidly. Anger, fueled by disappointment, can create a chasm in even the strongest of family relationships.
Mediation at the Centre for Mediation & Dispute Resolution can provide a forum for having difficult yet important family discussions, airing differences, and preserving relationships.
Our skilled mediators support families in developing estate plans that recognize the interests, needs, concerns and priorities of different family members, and help families resolve disputes involving estates and trusts. With the help of our experienced mediators, parties discover the potential for reaching resolution while enhancing the likelihood of maintaining long-term relationships. Mediation facilitates communication and broadens each party’s understanding of the interests at stake. The exploration of each party’s perspectives and interests leads to better solutions. Mediation can help parties avoid costly, stressful and time-consuming litigation over estate and trust issues. For parties already in litigation, mediation provides an opportunity to step away from the litigation to see whether a mutually agreeable resolution may be reached. Specialized professionals providing services to the parties, such as attorneys, accountants, and counselors, are often important and helpful adjuncts to the mediation process.