Estate Mediation

  • What is mediation?
    • Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR).  Mediation involves a neutral third party who assists the parties in reaching a consensual settlement.  The mediator does not make orders, or impose a settlement, but instead helps the parties craft their own solution to their dispute.  Mediation is often an excellent way to achieve an out-of-court resolution of an estate, power of attorney or guardianship dispute.

  • Is mediation required?
    • Mediation is required in estates, power of attorney and guardianship disputes in certain Ontario jurisdictions, including in Toronto.

  • When does mediation take place?
    • Mediation can take place at any time in the course of litigation if all parties agree. Sometimes the parties agree to participate in mediation even before litigation has started. In our experience though, parties involved in estates, guardianship and power of attorney litigation usually decide to participate in mediation after the litigation has started, but before the parties have been examined for discovery.

  • What are the advantages of mediation?
    • The advantages of mediation are many and include the following:

      Cost Effective: even if a mediation lasts one or two days, mediation is often much less expensive than proceeding to a trial or a judicial hearing.

      Consensual Resolution: because a decision is not simply imposed on the parties, as is the case with a court decision or in arbitration, the parties can create a solution to their dispute which addresses their unique needs and interests.

      Participation: the parties at a mediation are able to voice their opinions, concerns and ideas about the terms of a settlement in a way that cannot happen in litigation.

      Privacy: unlike most court decisions, the terms of a mediated settlement are not publicly available; sometimes the parties also agree to keep the terms of the mediated settlement confidential.

      Speed: taking a case to trial often takes years due to available judicial resources and to the variety of procedural steps involved. By contrast, in the appropriate case, mediation can take place even before litigation has begun. What is more, in the vast majority of cases, a settlement is achieved after only one day of mediation.

  • Is mediation appropriate for all cases?
    • In some cases, mediation is not appropriate.  For instance, in cases where there is a dramatic power imbalance between the parties and a concern exists that one party (particular if he or she is not represented by a lawyer) may be bullied or coerced into agreeing to a settlement, mediation is not appropriate. In the vast majority of cases, however, mediation is an excellent alternative to litigation.

  • Does de VRIES LITIGATION act as mediators?
    • Justin de Vries has acted as mediator on numerous occasions, and has achieved great success in assisting parties to resolve their disputes in a cost-effective way. Justin enjoys acting as a mediator and would be pleased to assist you.