Estate Mediation Process
Mediation is mandatory in most estate disputes in Toronto. Many people involved in estate disputes do not realize that it is mandatory. Mediation is an excellent tool even if it is in a jurisdiction where it is not mandatory. Many disputes settle at mediation or shortly after. It can save legal costs and shorten the legal battle thereby saving the parties involved a lot of time, money, and emotional stress.
The process is usually unclear to the parties involved in estate disputes. One of the reasons is that the parties may not have been previously involved in an estate dispute or litigation in general.
As a lawsuit progresses, it gets to a point when estate mediation must be scheduled. The parties will agree on a mutually convenient date and a mediator to be hired. A mediator is a neutral third party who among other things, is tasked with overseeing and guiding the process. The mediator may be a lawyer who does a lot of work in estate law, a retired judge, or someone who is very skilled as a facilitator.
When the parties agree on a mediator, they exchange briefs in which they set out the facts and the issues in dispute. The mediator reads the briefs to understand how to better assist the parties at the mediation.
Mediation process should be used to try to settle
The mediation may take place at the offices of the mediator or at the offices of one of the parties’ lawyers. During the process the parties will meet with the mediator in a non-threatening, safe environment to talk about the issues of the case. The mediator will explain the process. For example, the mediator may emphasize that the mediation process is “off the record” and that the parties must negotiate in good faith.
It is important to note that anything that is said at an estate mediation is “off the record” and cannot be used in subsequent estate litigation. In other words, it is important for the parties to use their best efforts to attempt to settle.
The parties involved in the process must be willing to compromise. Settling an estate dispute requires concessions by all the parties involved. The parties and their lawyers must work together to set realistic expectations about the outcome. A successful outcome may result in all parties making significant concessions, yet walking away with something tangible.
If a dispute advances to trial all the parties involved will incur significant legal costs and one side will suffer a total defeat. Proceeding to trial may also take a toll on the emotional well-being of the parties involved. The emotional effects of protracted estate litigation must also be carefully considered.
For more on Ontario’s mandatory mediation process click here.
The information on this website is not legal advice. It is for informative purposes only. To schedule an appointment, call: 1-866-677-7746. A lawyer can only be retained after a consultation where all the details of the matter and retainer are discussed.