Estate Mediation in Southwest Florida
It's unfortunately quite common for families to have disagreements over how each child or interested party will fit into the overall picture when deciding what is best for our elderly loved ones. If your family has found themselves at odds with who should be in charge of assets, finances, or where your loved one should live in their later years, hiring a neutral third party -certified mediator- to help facilitate a meeting via Zoom or In Person, can be paramount in reaching an agreement without destroying precious relationships.
Getting ahead of these disputes before your loved one passes can bring a family together, so their support system remains intact when everyone needs it the most.
Estate disputes that occur after a family member passes away can be exhausting both emotionally and financially. Disagreements among the deceased person’s family members can lead to costly, lengthy, and hostile legal battles, but it does not always have to be this way. Mediation can be an effective way to resolve these conflicts without the need for court litigation, helping family members preserve their relationships, save time and money, keep their matters confidential, and have control over the outcome.
As a Florida Supreme Court-certified family and civil court mediator, Christina Florand strives to approach estate disputes that occur after a death in a family with professionalism, neutrality, and compassion. Florand Mediation, LLC, provides mediation services throughout Southwest Florida, including Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Venice, Sarasota, Osprey, Bradenton, North Port, and Nokomis.
Common Estate Disputes
Losing a loved one is always incredibly painful and hard to accept, not to mention that a death in a family can cause arguments and rifts between family members. Some common estate disputes include:
Unfair property distribution. One of the most common disputes among family members after losing a loved one is over the distribution of the deceased person’s property and finances. Even if there is a will in place, some family members may feel that the manner in which assets are allocated is unfair.
Being left out of the will. Disinherited family members can challenge the deceased person’s will if they feel they were left out of the document.
Power of attorney challenges. Family members may believe that the person who was granted power of attorney abuses their position, acts in a self-interested manner, and/or neglects their responsibilities.
Dishonest trustees. When a trustee’s behavior is perceived as being dishonest, family members may initiate legal action to hold the trustee responsible for mismanagement, misappropriation of trust funds, or other types of improper conduct.
Conflicts with the estate executor or administrator. Family members may not be satisfied with the way the estate executor or administrator manages the deceased person’s estate.
Invalid will or other documents. When family members believe that the decedent’s will, trust, or other documents were not executed properly, they could challenge the validity of the document.
These and other estate disputes have the potential to turn into expensive and lengthy court battles while pitting surviving family members against each other.
How Mediation Can Help
Mediation is a cooperative process in which parties agree to resolve their dispute outside of court through discussion and communication. Mediation serves as an alternative to traditional court litigation and involves the intervention of a neutral and trained mediator who helps the parties reach a mutually satisfactory agreement and settlement of the dispute. Mediators do not have the authority to make decisions for the parties. Rather, their job is to facilitate communication between the parties to help them find a middle ground.
Estate disputes can turn into contentious and emotionally charged battles if not resolved amicably through mediation or other alternative dispute resolution methods.
Benefits of Mediation When Resolving Estate Disputes
Resolving estate disputes with mediation offers a number of benefits when compared to litigation. Some of those benefits include:
Control. Family members who agree to resolve an estate dispute through mediation have complete control over the process and the outcome. The same cannot be said about litigation, where the process and the outcome of the dispute are in the hands of a judge.
Time and expense. Typically, mediation is a much faster process than litigation, which allows the parties to move on with their lives more quickly. Mediation is also less expensive than taking an estate dispute to court in almost all circumstances due to legal fees and court costs.
Privacy. Most documents filed with courts in Florida are public records, which means your family’s feuds and “dirty laundry” may be available to anyone if an estate dispute enters the court system. Mediation sessions are not open to the public, which allows the parties to enjoy both privacy and confidentiality.
Preservation of relationships. Last but not least, mediation offers family members who have an ongoing dispute an opportunity to preserve their relationships, especially if mediation is taken early enough. That is because mediation fosters constructive and respectful communication between the parties to help them reach a mutually beneficial settlement. The same cannot be said about litigation, which has the potential to destroy family relationships due to its adversarial nature.
If you are not sure whether mediation will work for you in your particular case, speak with Christina Florand, who has mediated hundreds of estate disputes over the 11 years of offering comprehensive mediation services in Southwest Florida.
Estate Dispute Mediation in Southwest Florida
Time and time again, mediation has been proven effective in resolving a wide variety of conflicts, including estate disputes. Christina Florand provides a certified, flexible, and accessible mediation service tailored to the specific needs and circumstances of each dispute to allow the best possible chance at resolution for people involved in trust, will, and other estate disputes. Reach out to Florand Mediation, LLC, today to seek a peaceful solution to your dispute.