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Publications | February 25, 2020
2 minute read

Mediation in Probate Court

Mediation is a dispute resolution exercise, where a neutral mediator tries to help the parties reach a settlement agreement. The mediator is typically an attorney trained in the mediation process. The attorneys for the parties may select the mediator; if they can’t agree, then the court will select the mediator. The mediator’s fee is split between the parties.

A day is set aside for the mediation, attended by the mediator, the parties, and their attorneys. In most mediations, the parties are in separate rooms and the mediator shuttles back and forth with settlement proposals.

The mediator has no power to force a party to agree to anything; a party cannot be forced to enter into a settlement agreement at mediation. 

Rather, a skillful mediator will help educate each party about the reasons to consider a settlement, such as the risk of losing at trial, and the expense of continuing the litigation. The mediator must remain neutral; however, a mediator may offer a private and frank assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of each party’s case. The settlement negotiations are confidential, and the mediator will merely inform the court that the case did or did not settle.

Almost all of David’s and Laura’s cases go to mediation at some point. David and Laura are also both trained as mediators, have mediated and settled trust and estate disputes, and are available to serve as mediators before or after a court dispute arises.