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Resolving Probate Disputes Through Arbitration


Probate disputes can arise for various reasons. For instance, disputes can arise if beneficiaries think the personal representative is mismanaging the estate. Disputes can also arise if a legal heir feels they were left out of the Will. Probate disputes are often difficult for the involved parties. When disputes arise during probate, it might seem like the only option is to go to trial. While many probate disputes are resolved through trial, there are other options. Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods can be used to resolve probate disputes outside of court. ADR generally involves resolving probate disputes through mediation or arbitration. Mediation may be a good option for people who want to discuss their case with a neutral third party who can guide them to a mutually acceptable and beneficial solution. On the other hand, arbitration may be a good option for people who want or need an independent third party to resolve their differences in a binding way. In this article, we discuss the meaning of arbitration, the advantages of arbitration, and the disadvantages of arbitration.

What Is Arbitration?

As already mentioned, arbitration is an alternative dispute resolution method. Arbitration involves working with a neutral third party called an arbitrator. Unlike in mediation, where the mediator helps the parties reach a solution, the arbitrator makes the final decision. After hearing from the disputing parties, the arbitrator renders a decision. Usually, the decision made by the arbitrator is binding.

Advantages of Arbitration

One of the most notable advantages of arbitration is that it is less time-consuming. The court system is often overburdened and understaffed, resulting in significant delays in the resolution of disputes. Arbitration involves an expedited process so the case does not drag on as long as cases before a court. Secondly, arbitration is less expensive than litigation. When arbitration is completed in an expedited process, the cost of arbitration is significantly less than the cost of litigation.

Thirdly, arbitration is more flexible than litigation. For example, in arbitration, disputing parties can agree on what rules of procedure to follow. Lastly, arbitration offers confidentiality. Arbitration hearings are not publicized, which can help keep details of family disputes private.

Disadvantages of Arbitration

The biggest disadvantage of arbitration is that some arbitrators are inherently biased. For instance, if an executor and beneficiary decide to resolve their dispute through arbitration and the arbitrator was once an executor, they may bring to the table a subconscious bias in favor of the executor. The arbitrator may make a decision that favors the executor because of the inherent bias. However, by carefully selecting an arbitrator, you can avoid this issue.

Another disadvantage of arbitration is that a party may have no redress for a bad decision. After a final decision is made and one party feels that the decision is unfair, the court may be reluctant to overturn the decision. Courts have been very reluctant to overturn arbitration decisions. It is crucial to understand this aspect well before deciding to resolve probate disputes through arbitration.

Contact the Probate Guy for Legal Help

If you need help determining how best to handle a probate dispute, contact the dedicated California probate attorney, Robert L. Cohen – The Probate Guy – today to schedule a telephonic consultation.

Southern California Probate Lawyer Serving Orange, Riverside, Anaheim, Whittier & Beyond.


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