The Role of the Mediator With Regard to Contesting A Will
David A. Brooker, litigation lawyer with the Toronto firm of Steinberg, Morton, Hope & Israel LLP, explains the role of the mediator with regard to contesting a will.
Generally, if you are going to contest a will, you need to start proceedings in the jurisdiction in which the deceased last resided, or if they have property in Ontario, where that property is located. If proceedings are started in Toronto, they require a mandatory mediation session. Often, when a case is presented to a judge in other jurisdictions, mediation is recommended by the judge before proceedings begin.
The consequence of a dispute over a will is usually a rift in the family. Mediation can sometimes help that, because it’s helpful to have a third party who brings a different perspective to the lawyers and the parties involved. The mediator is also helpful in explaining costs to the parties involved. Even though that information is always given by their lawyers, the mediator’s evaluation often hits home to the clients more effectively. He or she will be very clear about the amount of money and the amount of time that will be expended in a lengthy trial.
For some cases, there is also a mandatory pre-trial conference before a judge. This is usually held about two to six months before the trial. A judge will meet with the parties and their lawyers and attempt to resolve the issues, or at least narrow them down, before the trial, in an effort to save time and expense.
If you, or someone you care about, is dealing with litigation law issues in the Toronto, Ontario Region, contact Steinberg, Morton, Hope & Israel LLP for a consultation.