Not all estate litigation in Greensboro winds up argued before jury or judge, and some conflicts end because of the mediation or arbitration process. But if members of the general public don’t have a good idea of what estate planning is or what estate litigation involves, they certainly have little understanding of the mediation and arbitration processes. To get a better idea of what these are, let’s take a closer look at both mediation and arbitration in Greensboro, North Carolina in a little more detail.
Options to Estate Litigation in Greensboro
The litigation process involves filing a lawsuit, going through the discovery process, engaging in settlement discussions, and perhaps, if nothing else works, going to trial. Mediation and arbitration are alternatives to the litigation process. Through both of these processes, parties who have legal disagreements can try to settle their disputes outside of court.
Mediation is the more informal of the alternate dispute resolution options. In mediation, the parties with the dispute sit down with a third-party neutral mediator to try to come to an agreement on their own. The mediator will allow the sides to meet in a neutral setting, can offer advice or guidance, and will sometimes proposes solutions, but that mediator has no power to force a resolution. The mediation process is voluntary, and anyone who doesn’t want to participate can simply walk away at any time. The actual mediator is often a private attorney who, though receiving a fee, does not represent either of the parties.
Estate arbitration is the more formal type of alternate dispute resolution. When parties participate in arbitration, they participate in a process in which they allow another neutral third party, the arbitrator, to hear their dispute and make a ruling much like a judge would at trial. The arbitrator’s ruling is binding on both parties, meaning that it is effectively an out-of-court settlement given by a private judge.
Arbitration is often used when, for example, the terms of an estate planning device called for it. For example, when some people create trusts, they include an arbitration clause that requires any disputes arising out of the management of the trust first go before an arbitrator.
Estate Litigation Advice
Anytime you’re considering participating in a mediation or arbitration process, you need legal advice. Whether you’re arguing in front of an arbitrator or trying to come to an agreement through a mediator, your legal options in both settings differ significantly. An estate planning attorney in Greensboro North Carolina will be able to invite you about what you can, can’t, should, or shouldn’t do whenever you’re considering resolving your estate litigation issue through mediation or arbitration.