After the Funeral (How to Solve Family Conflict Without Going to Court)
If the advice in Attorney Melissa DeVantier’s recent article, Inheriting the Family Cottage, came too late for your family to benefit from it – sadly, your family may find itself in the middle of a dispute concerning what will happen with Mom and Dad’s property once they become incapacitated or pass away.
Once family leaders have given up control or passed away, adult children are often left in a position of ambiguity or worse – contrary beliefs about their rightful roles or shares. In most family disputes there is a struggle between wanting to win by being proven right, and desiring to make peace within the family. This is where a mediator can be especially helpful.
The role of the mediator is to help the peace motivation prevail. The participants in a family property dispute are more likely to reach a satisfactory agreement by talking and exploring options with the help of a mediator than they are by going through a judicial procedure in which a decision is imposed on them.
Additionally, it is often said that a mediated settlement, particularly in family and estate disputes, is typically better than a trial judgment, because after mediation, the parties know that it is a result they agreed with, rather than something imposed by an outsider.
Kristy A. Christensen
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