ADR (alternative dispute resolution) is an alternative dispute resolution option that allows parties to dispute a will to avoid the need for court proceedings. ADR options such as mediation and arbitration offer a more cost-effective and flexible way to resolve disputes.
Will disputes can often be complex and emotionally charged. They can involve loved ones who are grieving or have different expectations regarding what they should receive. This can make the situation worse and prolong the conflict. ADR can be an alternative option that could help resolve the dispute.
Mediation is when a neutral third person, called the mediator, facilitates discussions between the parties to find a mutually satisfactory resolution. The mediator does not make any decisions or impose settlements but assists the parties in finding a solution that is fair for all. Mediating can be ordered by the court or voluntary. All information shared during mediation is confidential.
Mediation can be helpful in resolving disputes about wills, such as disagreements regarding the interpretation or claims that the will wasn’t executed correctly. Mediation is especially helpful in these cases because the parties are able to discuss their concerns and work together towards a solution that suits everyone. The parties could, for example, agree to divide the proceeds and sell an asset if they are in dispute over who will receive it.
Mediation offers flexibility and can be tailored according to the needs. Mediation can occur in person or online. All parties can make arrangements at their convenience. The parties can also choose their mediator. This means they can select someone who is an expert in the particular area of law related to their dispute.
Arbitration, which is a more formal option than mediation, is another ADR option. Arbitration is the involvement of a neutral third party, the arbitrator, who makes the binding decisions. The arbitrator is usually a qualified lawyer or industry expert with extensive experience in the relevant area. The arbitrator’s decision becomes binding upon the parties and is enforced in courts.
Arbitration can be a viable option in will disputes as it is more efficient than litigation and costs less. Arbitration can be done privately, which allows the parties to avoid the negative publicity that is often associated with court cases. Arbitration can resolve disputes regarding will validity and asset value.
Arbitration is less controllable than mediation because it is more structured and formal. Furthermore, arbitration is binding. Therefore, each party must accept the decision of the arbitrator, regardless of whether they disagree.
What to Consider Before You Decide on ADR
When considering whether to use ADR in a will dispute, there are some practicalities that parties should be aware of;
First, you need to decide the best ADR method for your case. For disputes that are primarily about communication, or a misunderstanding, mediation may be appropriate. Arbitration is better suited for complex legal disputes.
Second, it is important to choose the right mediator depending on which dispute resolution route you choose. You should choose someone who has experience in handling will disputes, but is impartial and objective. Both parties should trust the mediator or arbitrator.
It is also important to prepare for ADR. Gathering all evidence and documentation is essential in order to prepare a concise and clear argument for the dispute. You must also be open to hearing the perspective of the other side and keep an open mind. A successful ADR process requires that both sides are willing to cooperate and maybe even compromise in order to reach a solution.
In conclusion, ADR offers a practical and effective solution to resolve a will dispute in both England and Wales. Mediation and arbitration are two commonly used forms of ADR, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. While ADR may not be appropriate for all will disputes, it is a useful solution for parties who wish to avoid the expense and emotional toll of litigation.
By selecting the right ADR method, mediator or arbitrator, and by preparing appropriately, parties can work together to find a solution that works for everyone involved. This can lead to a more amicable resolution and help to preserve relationships between family members. Ultimately, ADR can provide a more efficient and cost-effective way of resolving will disputes, allowing parties to move forward with their lives.