Resolving Estate-Related Disputes Through Mediation

In estate litigation, the only people who typically "win" are the lawyers. It doesn't take long for court costs and other trial-related expenses to completely consume the assets that family members are fighting over.

At the Law Offices of Denise Eaton May, we believe there is a better way. Our founding lawyer has taken countless cases to trial over the past 30 years. She understands the drawbacks of litigation, and she can help you pursue a more economical and amicable resolution.

Attorney Denise Eaton May is a trusted choice to serve as your mediator in any of the following types of estate-related disputes in the Bay Area:

Will Contests

A will doesn't always provide the final word about how assets will be distributed to heirs. The court has the authority to set the will aside if:

  • The will was forged or incorrectly drafted.
  • The maker of the will (the testator) lacked sufficient mental capacity to make decisions.
  • The testator was unduly influenced or coerced into writing the will a certain way.
  • The will is too ambiguous or unclear in its intent.

Trust And Estate Administration Disputes

While trust disputes can involve the same issues as will contests, family conflict may also arise for many other reasons. Typically, disputes arise when family members believe that the trustee or personal representative breached his or her fiduciary duty by:

  • Inappropriately spending money
  • Selling or giving away trust assets without permission
  • Failing to invest assets wisely
  • Failing to abide by the terms of the trust
  • Engaging in self-dealing
  • Embezzling money or otherwise committing fraud

Guardianship And Conservatorship Disputes

For those who cannot meet their own personal and financial needs, a guardianship or conservatorship may be critical. At the same time, it has the potential to spark conflict. Such conflict may revolve around:

  • Whether the individual in question should be declared incompetent
  • Which powers the guardian or conservator should have
  • Whether the guardian or conservator is fulfilling his or her responsibilities appropriately

Mediation Can Often Resolve Concerns While Preserving Relationships

Instead of wasting an inheritance on prolonged litigation, consider mediation. This alternative dispute resolution method is far more cost-effective. More importantly, it is far less adversarial and ideal for family members who want to preserve their relationships with one another.

To discuss your family's unique situation with us, call the Law Offices of Denise Eaton May at 510-244-3307 or email our Hayward office to arrange a consultation.