The Best Way to Keep a Will Dispute Out of Court
The best way to keep a deceased estate out of court is to talk directly to your family if you can, and don’t let lawyers escalate any issues into disputes.
Traditionally, lawyers will work out your rights, and then help you enforce your rights. But they do this without consideration to the actual costs to you.
Not only do the lawyers benefit by increasing their own legal fees, at your cost, but the other costs to you include:
- increased time to finalise the matter
- stress and anxiety over the outcome
- potentially splitting up the family so that relationships are lost
- having dirty laundry aired
- having your financial affairs disclosed to everyone involved, and
- the control of the outcome is taken out of your hands.
Whereas there are a number of early interventions that can be used to keep a deceased estate out of court, and not letting an issue escalate into a full dispute.
Other than talking amongst yourselves, the first is having an early-stage private mediation. With or without lawyers. This is then like a facilitated conversation, to make sure everyone is heard and everyone gets their chance to have their say. Then options are explored, and everyone keeps control of the situation.
But the best way to keep a deceased estate out of court, particularly when family members find it difficult to talk and be in the same room as each other, is through a number of meetings called Collaborative Practice.
Collaborative Practice involves having a group of professionals to facilitate a number of conversations with the family that can lead to positive outcomes for everyone. The professionals are called ‘collaborative practitioners’.
There are lawyers, coaches, mediators and financial planners who can support your family through conversations that can keep the family together. During the meetings with the collaborative practitioners, you will discuss all the options, and keep control of creating an outcome that is win-win for everyone.