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Estate mediation is an effective alternative resolution route in which clients actively participate in the settlement of their own issues. Estate mediation is confidential and allows for creative settlements that can be designed to foster family harmony.
Estate mediation is available as an alternative to attending court altogether or it can be used as a stage in ongoing court proceedings. Mediations are generally set for one full day but can be multiple days depending on the issues to be resolved.
Wendy acts as a mediator and also as counsel to clients who wish or need to attend a mediation involving estates or powers of attorney issues.
When acting as a mediator, Wendy takes the role of an educator and neutral facilitator using the law of estates and her over twenty-five years of experience as a guide toward a fair settlement for the family. Wendy also listens to the family’s history and dynamics to better assist in formulating an acceptable resolution for all involved.
With the growing cost of litigation and the delays in the court system, estate mediation has become an important vehicle for resolving estate disputes in Ontario.
Family members and beneficiaries sometimes choose to attend a mediation without lawyers after having done their own preliminary internet research to learn their rights. In those cases, Wendy ensures the self-represented parties understand that her role as mediator is neutral through the entire process and that she is not representing any of the participants individually.
More frequently, families are recognizing the value of resolving their growing differences or anticipated tension early as a collective group before the family becomes unable to speak to each other and is forced into a litigation path. In such cases, Wendy usually recommends a weekend mediation so that the family can review all the issues between them and find time to rebuild personal and interpersonal dynamics while resolving the financial and other tensions that are causing the discord.
Mediations are used in all aspects of estate, power of attorney, and other incapacity administration and litigation. Increasingly, mediations are used to help families find creative ways to share the workload involved in managing the finances and health of an incapable family member.
There is mandatory mediation in estates and guardianship court proceedings commenced in Toronto, Windsor, and Ottawa. In all other Ontario jurisdictions, mediation is optional but can be ordered by any court.
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