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Questions to Avoid in Probate Mediation

Thursday, December, 27, 2012


Probate mediation is one of the best ways to resolve probate disputes that arise among family members but requires that everyone involved understand the limits of the process of mediation and the best way to ensure its success.  Here’s a great example—everyone involved in the mediation proceedings must understand that the mediator is not a judge or a jury and must remain impartial throughout the mediation proceedings in order to do his or her job correction.  In such, some questions that you should avoid asking the mediator are:

  1. What is the best thing for us to do next?
  2. If we took this case to court, how do you think the court would rule on it?
  3. What are our chances in winning our case?
  4. How do you think the judge will respond to this situation?
  5. Is this settlement a good idea for me?  Am I being taken advantage of?
  6. Does my lawyer know what he/she is doing or should I find another lawyer?
  7. You’ve heard both sides now.  Don’t you think my father would have wanted me to be the one to end up with the house?
  8. Based on what you’ve heard today, don’t you think he is incapable of making a wise decision due to his health?

The point of mediation, from the perspective of the mediator, is to make sure that each party communicates thoroughly and plainly with the other party in order to settle the dispute.  Therefore, the mediator’s opinions about which side has the best chances or how a court would respond to the dispute is irrelevant—what matters most is that the family members involved in the dispute are communicating their side effectively so that resolution can be reached between the parties.  It is up to the parties in dispute to reach a resolution, not the mediator.