Mediation and Estate Planning

Mediation and Estate Planning and Administration

How Mediation Can Lessen the Emotional Roller Coaster of Estate Planning and Administration

During the estate planning process, communication between all members either directly or indirectly involved in the plan is important. However, issues between family members and beneficiaries tend to arise and escalate quickly when disagreements occur or individuals fail to disclose emotional matters. The attorney working on the estate plan may not be aware of these miscommunications, and as a result, there may be errors made on the estate plan.

A simple way to resolve communication issues is to bring a mediator into the estate planning process. A mediator is a neutral third party who helps address conflicts of interest among family members and beneficiaries of the estate and facilitate mutual agreements between the individuals.

Confidential and somewhat sensitive issues are often involved in estate planning. Family history, divorces, children with special needs, money concerns, taxes, aging parents, or death are all examples of areas that may cause disagreements or lack of communication in estate planning. If the parties creating the estate plan are represented by different lawyers, oftentimes they are asked to sign a Consent to Joint Representation Agreement, which allows the attorneys to exchange confidential information about the parties. This is not always the best-case scenario, so a mediator is a good solution when members to an estate plan are hesitant to talk openly about sensitive parts of an estate plan.

A mediator aims to find perception, not substance. A mediator does not replace the legal work the lawyer does in creating the estate plan. Instead, a mediator’s main objective is to coax issues out of family members and beneficiaries that the attorney may not ethically be able to. The end result is that all parties involved in the estate plan are able to express openly their issues or concerns with the estate plan without the fear of hurting the feelings of others or misrepresenting important information. The attorney is able to create an accurate plan that fulfills all the wishes and desires of the parties.

To learn more about mediation services and estate planning, contact Keirnes Law at 612-805-0144.

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