Mediation is a confidential and voluntary process towards settlement that is facilitated by an independent person, the mediator.
The advantages of mediation as opposed to litigation are well known, namely to save cost and time and to try and alleviate the stress and anxiety usually suffered by the parties involved in disputes.
In particular, the benefits of referring contentious probate disputes (which we are here construing widely to include claims contesting a will, disputes over trusts and claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Families and Dependants) Act 1975) to mediation are usually experienced in the following ways:
- In providing flexibility to the possible ways the parties may choose to settle.
- By preserving the estate or trust fund for the benefit of the beneficiaries.
- By avoiding the escalation of family disputes.
- By preserving the relationships between the personal representatives or trustees and the beneficiaries.
- By preserving the relationships between beneficiaries.
- In affording a degree of privacy, informality and confidentiality.
The Civil Procedure Rules (the rules that govern contentious probate disputes) positively encourage parties to a dispute to explore settlement, including referring it to mediation. The Court has long since imposed tough costs sanctions for those parties that unreasonably refuse to at least attempt such steps towards settlement.
Not only do the members of our contentious probate team have experience of resolving probate disputes through mediation, Liam Owen has experience of being appointed as a mediator in such matters. Liam qualified as a mediator via the ADR Group, and is happy to accept appointments as a mediator in all types of disputes concerning trusts, contentious probate, contested wills and inheritance claims.