When Should You Consider Mediation During Your Will or Trust Contest Case?

By Daniel A. Perry, Esq.

Early in my career I once heard a judge say: “A sign of a good negotiation is when both parties walk away upset.” What I believe this judge meant was that negotiation includes compromise and neither party gets absolutely everything that they wanted at the outset of the case.

When I represent a client in litigation, there will always be a discussion about mediation, compromise, and settlement. When should someone consider Mediation during their case? I believe that all parties should consider mediation during their case. Mediation has the possibility of resolving their dispute, reaching a settlement acceptable to all parties involved, and bringing the case to a conclusion at a reduced cost for both parties. In addition, there is an inherent risk in going to trial. Even if you have what appears to be a slam dunk case, there is no guarantee that the court and jury will see the facts and evidence exactly as you see them.

A New York Times article from 2008 made the following comparison:

“If you approach a class of students and say, I’ll either write you a check for $200, or we can flip a coin and I will pay you nothing or $500.”

When it comes to the decision to go to trial or to settle prior to trial, this is essentially the decision that you are making. You could end up with $500, or you could end up with nothing. Determining either to settle your case or proceed to trial is a calculated risk that every party must make when properly counseled by their attorney.

Also, there is the issue of cost when proceeding to trial as well that I mentioned earlier. When you are involved in a court case, depending upon the complexity of the case, resolving the dispute in settlement and proceeding to trial could mean the difference between legal costs of $15,000 to $25,000 and legal costs of $100,000 to $200,000.

Although, each person, depending upon the case, may have a different opinion or a different reason for preferring to resolve their case at settlement or proceed forward to trial. Nevertheless, every party should consider mediation as it allows them an avenue to resolve their dispute without incurring any additional costs to resolve their dispute in a courtroom.

For More Information

If you are involved in a will or trust contest litigation case, or you believe you may have a claim that you want to raise in a will or trust contest litigation case, then please contact our office and speak with one of our Probate and Trust Litigation Attorneys today. We look forward to speaking with you soon!

Also, don’t forget! We have a number of free books and reports on our website that you can download for free that may address your legal questions. I am sure you will find the information valuable!