Often times, a contested estate administration can be more divisive than your typical divorce case. While the death of a loved one often brings family members closer together, unfortunately, it can lead to hostility and division as well. When beneficiaries receive a different or smaller share of the deceased’s property than they had expected, the combination of grief, hurt and disappointment can stir up old family drama and create intense conflict. All too often, this emotional mix leads to accusations of abuse, undue influence, fiduciary mismanagement and, eventually, to lengthy and costly litigation in the probate court. The time spent fighting the probate or administration of the estate also delays the disbursement of the assets. Lastly, any issues that go before the court are decided by the court and not by the parties themselves. Often a better way for you to have a bigger and more direct say on the distribution of assets is enhanced when you utilize mediation instead of simply proceeding with the court process.
Mediation in the context of estate administrations can often times be very effective in helping beneficiaries deal with internal conflicts over the settling of an estate. It gives family members an opportunity to clear up misunderstandings and alleviate hard feelings while working on creative solutions that will promote everyone’s interests. In mediation an experienced neutral party attempts to assist the parties to air their concerns, understand each others points of view, and find common ground. No decision is rendered by the mediator, but instead the mediator facilitates the parties’ arriving at their own solution.
Issues commonly addressed in estate administration meditations include:
- Will Contests/Probate Disputes:
- Validity of Will/Trust
- Ambiguous language of Will/Trust
- Lack of capacity of testator/settlor
- Exploitation and financial elder abuse
- Qualification of Personal Representative
- Undue influence
- Breach of fiduciary duty
- Trust reformation
- Use of property
- How to share property
- Property maintenance (costs, sharing labor)
- Sale of property (decision to sell, timing of sale, sale price, sharing proceeds)
If you have a family member or loved one that has died in or around Northern Georgia and you need assistance in trying to schedule mediation for the purpose of resolving any estate administration issues, the North Georgia probate lawyers at Durden & Mills, PC can assist you. Call us at (706) 543-4708.