If your recently deceased loved one lacked an estate plan, you may find yourself in the throes of probate. Some or all of the estate’s assets must go through the Texas-established process of dividing property.
This might involve decisions that inheriting parties or beneficiaries contest. That challenge gets resolved in two ways: litigation or mediation. Mediation provides a flexible and less formal process than going to court.
Considering the financial costs
According to Policygenius.com, probate may cost around 3%-8% of an estate’s value. Expenses like court fees, executor fees and date-of-death values of real estate stack up all before your potential costs of litigation.
Considering the time costs
With a neutral party involved between two conflicting sides, there comes a matter of scheduling. You and others agree to come together, often separated in different rooms, while the mediator bounces between to establish a fitting compromise.
Considering mediation’s privacy
Probate litigation in the courts comes with costs and long wait times, and all court records of the litigation are open to the public. Depending on your case, that confidential aspect of mediation may be preferable.
Considering court processes
Once litigation hits the courts, dividing assets comes down to strict rules of evidence and civil procedure. No matter what you or others think is most fair or mostly fair, the courts decide based on other factors beyond opinion. Mediation allows all parties to work towards a compromise everyone is happy with or at least amicable to.
Probate mediation works under the assumption that there does not have to be a winner or a loser. Meeting in the middle may help you and your estranged family find the solution that meets everyone’s needs.