How Do You Solve Conflict in Inheritance?Nick Richards FDRP LL.B MBA GDLP DMgmt MQLS
Executors and Beneficiaries of an Estate – Take Note
Mediators play an important role in being the impartial party between the executor and beneficiary and will work with the parties to come to a resolution that suits both the estate and the beneficiary, in a prompt and cost-effective manner, without the need for the court system.
The cost of mediation of an inheritance dispute will depend on the complexity of the matter and the parties involved, however, for a dispute involving a single claimant and a single beneficiary, the fee estimate is between $1,750 and $2,500 per party.
One of the key benefits of inheritance mediation is that the parties are able to control the outcome and the level of costs, as mediation is generally a fixed-cost service unless the organisation charges an hourly rate for their services, unlike the court system could cost the parties up to $60,000 each.
Upon resolution of the dispute, the mediator will draft up any agreements meeting between the parties and will offer the agreement to the parties for signing.
Some mediators will permit legal representatives, and some may not as legal representation is not always a collective benefit to the dispute at hand.
Where negotiations fail in mediation (not common but can happen) one of the parties will seek the intervention of the court system.
Where negotiations have failed in mediation and or arbitration, the parties may apply to the court for orders. The court may order the parties back to mediation to have the matter dealt with outside the court. The court is able to hear the dispute from both parties and make orders of distribution from the estate or other orders.
Whether a claimant or an executor is facing a dispute over inheritance, mediation provides a prompt and cost-effective platform to resolve disputes whilst preserving relationships. More commonly the courts are ordering parties to mediation to resolve their disputes outside the court system. It is becoming increasingly common that mediation is the first step prior to an application to the court.
NOTICE: The above is not legal advice and it is recommended that you obtain tailored legal advice related to your own personal circumstances from an Australian legal practitioner.