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  • Writer's pictureCindy Cartier

Using a Mediator Can More Amicably Solve Wills, Inheritance & Probate Disputes

Ideally Mediation should be used in any dispute involving Wills, Inheritance or Probate. There is usually a feeling within the family that they “should” be able to work things out among themselves but the engagement of a mediator to help to find a resolution can help to avoid splits that everyone will regret in the long term.

Communication between siblings, elders and in-laws will be assisted by a mediator who can keep the parties focused on the issues rather than on versions of “history” that are usually emotion based. Issues that need to be dealt with will be identified, particularly where needs are ongoing, and then movement towards a solution that suits all parties can then emerge and be facilitated with areas of responsibility being identified.

Real fears around financial limitations, nursing home or medical care costs for the person or couple passing on the business or farm on the one hand; or on the other, the viability of the business for whomsoever might be taking over have to be addressed. Issues like the health of the successor or the possibility or their marriage ending in Divorce also raise real fears.

Mediation also has many advantages over litigation:

  • Mediation is less expensive and less time-consuming.

  • Mediation leaves control of the outcome in the hands of the disputing parties rather than in the hands of a judge or jury.

  • In mediation the parties are free to fashion their own solutions to the conflict, including solutions that a court would not be able to order.

  • When ongoing relationships are important, as, for example, in the case of a dispute among family members or between businesses that wish to continue a business relationship, mediation provides an opportunity to resolve a dispute in a non-adversarial way so that important relationships are repaired and preserved.

Oftentimes these issues are avoided because of the pain, for oneself or loved ones that can be involved in facing them. The issues can be raised in the safe environment provided by Mediation and potential future problems can be obviated in a safe and secure setting provided by a trained professional Mediator. The interests of all the parties, looking forward, will dominate the process.

Cynthia DeMatteis Cartier, JD, LLM is a President and Founder of CT Mediation & Arbitration Services, LLC, which provides conflict resolution for family, elder and civil matters. She can be reached at (203)458-1477 or

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