Trial setting in the Los Angeles Probate Court may take one or two years. Litigants have alternatives in resolving probate and trust cases by agreeing to attend mediation sessions in lieu of litigating. Alternative Dispute Resolution is a term of art used for settling cases outside of court. Settlement agreements can be crafted and negotiated in an informal setting, minimizing the stresses which come about as a result of litigation.
While litigation in probate is expensive and time consuming, mediation is inexpensive and quick.
Instead of waiting years to be heard by a judge, you can submit your matter to a retired judge who is well experienced in probate and trust matters. In Los Angeles County, there are several companies who offer services of retired judges in mediations. Family law cases are also suitable for mediation. Matters involving visitation and custody of children can be informally agreed upon in mediation, which stipulation can then be submitted to the court to become a judgement.
Most Conservatorship and Estate matters are technically family matters. In estates, heirs have common issues, such as who should be an executor, and the amount of appropriate distributions to each heir. Many times, the disputes are not about what is occurring in the estate now, but rather what took place in the family many years ago.
Complex trust and estate matters are best suited for mediation. There are many times where probate estate disputes are mixed with trust litigation, as the decedent left both a will and a trust, and distributions may be different in each instrument. Self-made will and trust documents often pose issues of ambiguity which are simple to fix informally, but very difficult to fix at trials due to strict evidentiary rules.
Lost wills and trusts also pose situations which require flexibility on the part of litigants, and creativity on the part of mediators and attorneys who can discuss simple ways in molding each party's needs with what can be accomplished outside of court. In mediated trust cases, with the agreement of the beneficiaries, a trust can even be modified after death, with the approval of the court after a successful mediation agreement is drafted.
Contact us at 818.340.4479 as your Los Angeles Probate Mediation Attorneys to discuss how we can help you.
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