What happens in mediation when contesting a will?
Published 11 Jun 2020
If you are thinking about contesting a will, you have to keep in mind that the dispute could be sent to mediation. In fact, in many cases, this is not just a possible outcome, but a likely one. The question you may have, then, is what is actually involved in a mediation.
First and foremost, mediation can be an important part of contesting a will because it keeps everyone from entering the court system. This can be important in terms of saving both time and money, according to the Australian Mediation Association. Moreover, because these disputes can often be highly emotional, mediation helps everyone involved find a resolution that might work better for them.
Why it's important
In most cases, disputing a will typically pits family members "against" one another, and in the wake of a loved one's death, that can result in a major fracture. Relying on a mediator rather than solely on the court system can be helpful, because an impartial third party hears both sides of the case and helps ensure they work together to find an end result they can all live with.
The ability – and willingness – to even enter into mediation versus going through court proceedings can be an important first step to finding a good compromise position.
The Federal Court of Australia noted that in most cases, a mediator will often ask the people in the meeting to describe the dispute in their own words, in good faith and without interruption, so that everyone can at least see where the other side is coming from. Once those perspectives have been aired, the work of finding the middle ground begins.
It's critical to understand that unlike a court decision, in which a legal authority decides the matter, mediation is about getting all involved to agree – with some level of amicability – to a solution. By doing so, they can ease some of the hard feelings that might otherwise come out of such a case.
When you think it would be appropriate to dispute a will, you would be wise to get the experts on your side. Give Gerard Malouf & Partners a call today to find out about the options that might be available to you. With our No Win No Fee program and a 90-day free trial, there's no financial risk, and we can work together to assess your case carefully.