The Best Ways to Mediate Inheritance Disputes
When somebody close to you passes away, the last thing you want to think about is the fact that it could end in a lawsuit. How is this so? Unfortunately for many, inheritance disputes can become a reality. They may bring out the worst emotions and creates tension within the family where it is not needed. Costly and time-consuming lawsuits can only take away from the connection you feel with your family. So, how are some ways that you can deal with lengthy inheritance disputes and possibly lighten the load on yourself and your family?
Best Ways to Mediate
- Can you address the problems in the relationship? Sometimes, addressing relationship problems can resolve money problems. When somebody seeks out a mediator, they are generally looking for someone who can help them with financial issue opinions. This is why it is extremely important for people to spend more time focusing on their fractured relationships that led to the disagreements and resolving these issues upfront.
- The mediator can help focus on the “embarrassment” issue. Parties are often embarrassed to have ended up in a mediator’s office over a dispute. Because of this, there should be a personal connection established with the parties. This will help overcome reluctance to speak freely about all issues and get them out on the table when necessary.
- Always respect the will. The contents of the will have been written for a reason – which is why you should always respect them. The will is a legally binding document and the executor must follow the directives as they appear. Perhaps you do not agree with the final wishes of the deceased; however, you should respect these decisions because they felt strongly about them and this is the point of the will. However, in some cases the will may not be very clear, which means that you will have to get clarification.
- Be prepared for compromise. You can’t come into mediation without some forms of compromise. Everybody’s needs must be considered just as everybody’s needs will be different. How much do certain items mean to you? Why is that piece of jewelry worth fighting over and how can you resolve the issues at hand? You may “act out” in some ways when it comes to a loved one passing away, so carefully consider why something is important to you and what can be done about it. Everybody is dealing with the death on their own level, which means that you are all going through a similar situation and must be as understanding as possible.
- Exhaust all options before heading for litigation. A trial can add exhaustion and panic to any situation, which is why mediation and arbitration are the best first options in this type of situation. Not only is this option cheaper, but also it can help save family relationships. This causes less stress and makes things much easier on both parties. Whether mediation or arbitration, with mediation being more conversation and arbitration being more binding, you may be able to come to a conclusion that works best for all of you.
If you need assistance during your mediation or arbitration, you can give us a call. At California Arbitration & Mediation Services, we are there for you every step of the way.
Articles by Soheila Azizi
Successful Mediated Settlement denied by Judicial Officer
Neutral Donald Cripe, appointed by the court to attempt resolution of an acrimonious family probate at the time it was called for trial, did an awesome job in crafting a settlement that responded to each party's specific needs. One party was represented and the other parties were self-represented. Despite the painstaking care Mr. Cripe took to explain, read and secure the self-represented parties' consent, they reneged on the settlement, denied they understood its terms (despite agreeing to it in open court) and the probate judge sided with the self-represented litigants. After so much work, it was disappointing and the parties are headed back to trial. I find this to be an insult to the mediation process, especially when Mr. Cripe did such a thorough job. Unless both sides are self-represented, or both sides are represented by counsel, mediation may not be helpful. Regardless of the outcome, the mediator did his job!
I have been an attorney for over 32 years and had the privilege of seeing Don Cripe in action in mediating and settling many cases. I worked with Don when we did mediations for the Courts in San Bernardino County and Riverside County. Don is both knowledgeable and patient. Don has a pleasant and even-handed approach to the settlement process that helps parties find reasonable ways to help themselves reach settlements with which they can be satisfied, and which are fair to all. I would, and have highly recommended Don and C.A.M.S. to many of my fellow attorneys and to clients alike.
Knowledgeable, professional, helpful
I received mediation services from Don Cripe. His past experience and knowledge in the legal field helped answer questions that my client had regarding the benefits of settlement over trial. Don Cripe was well prepared in that he knew the issues of the case and the concerns of both parties. I will use these services in the future.
I have known Don Cripe for over 15 years and he brings a wealth of knowledge to the mediation process. As a veteran trial lawyer, he has local knowledge of jury attitudes and the idiosyncrasies of assigned judges. This type of information is quite helpful in the evaluation process. He knows how to bridge the gap between litigants in getting the case resolved .
Quality of Service and high level of experience
CAMS professionals have proven to be the best resource for resolving disputes at a reasonable cost. My experience with using Mr. Cripe at one of my mediations was great and I would recommend him any time.
Settled difficult case.
Review of service
Quality of service is very good
Don is the best mediator for the money!
Don Cripe is a consummate professional and amazing mediator. If there's a settlement to be struck Don will be the man to find it. Cannot say enough about him.
Cripe Knows Mediation
I've used Don Cripe's mediation services many times and every time I am impressed at how good he is. He's settled cases that I thought would never end. He gets 5 Stars from me. Dr. Jim Husen, Esq., LMFT, Psy.D.
Effective--small case settled with large case mediator skills
Don Cripe resolved a small and scrappy employment case through a local court mediation program. His practical and extensive litigation experience, and people skills, were instrumental. Though this case was small, I will use him for large IE employment cases too.
Extremely capable closer
Don Cripe is an asset to the resolution process of any case. And he gets its done.
Professional & Knowledgeable!
Don did a great job! I've used him several times when he was on the mediation panel for the San Bernardino Courts and privately. I used him privately for two more difficult cases where client control was an issue and he was able to resolve both cases. My client's respect him as do I. I will definitely use him again in the future and highly recommend him!
High quality and outstanding service
Mr. Cripe is a fair and balanced mediator/arbitrator. My experience with him brought to me a better understanding of the entire process and how fairness is quintessential to arbitration. Win or lose I knew that at least all the facts and evidence would be heard and adjudicated. Mr. Cripe maintained an even keel over the time allowing both sides ample opportunity to present their case. I would, without reservation, recommend Mr. Cripe for arbitration.
Mr. Cripe was able to settle a case that was very difficult. I highly recommend him.
I have used Don Cripe for several family law mediations. Two cases in particular involved complex disputed issues and had been in litigation for several years. The parties had spent thousands of dollars in legal fees with estimated trial fees of several times more to fully litigate. In both cases, Don was able to guide the parties to reach a fair and equitable settlement on all issues in about 3-4 hours. I would highly recommend Don for any mediation.
Experienced and Effective
Don Cripe is a very experienced, kind and effective Mediator. He is always pushing for the best results. I highly recommend him for any mediating services.
Excellent mediator and easy to work with.
Knowledgeable and effective
I first came to know Don Cripe when he was counsel for the plaintiff in a matter in which I represented one of the defendants. I enjoyed a good rapport with him during that case and thought highly of him and his approach to litigation. I found him to be thorough, reasonable and always able to maintain his sense of humor and to be courteous and professional while still skillfully advocating on behalf of his client. These are qualities and abilities that have served him well as a mediator. He has mediated several of my cases and during those mediations, he has been able to establish rapport with my clients and has ably explained to them the expenses and perils of continued litigation and the benefits of compromise. One of those cases involved real estate disclosure issues in which the parties began very far apart, both as to whether there had been a failure to disclose and as to the resultant harm. Don worked hard throughout the day, and in the end, Don was able to bridge the gap and settle the case. I recommend him unequivocally.
Excellent job by mediator Don Cripe
I was defense counsel on a slip / trip and fall case involving complicated injuries and medical causation issues, and a plaintiff for which it appeared there may have been client control problems. Don skillfully worked with the plaintiff's camp to explain the risks of litigation, the process, and the issues to help educate plaintiff as to the correct value of the case, and the best course of action. This also saved my client significant fees in trial preparation and the need to continue to hold the file open. Don was extremely polite and very knowledgeable of the law, understood very well the "subtext" in the rooms during mediation, and goals for both sides. I believe he achieved a fair result for both sides and I would highly recommend Don as balanced and neutral, and suitable to select if you are plaintiff or defense.
I have used Donald Cripe a half dozen or so times over the years. He has an exceptional ability to grasp the issues and bring the parties to a resolution. I highly recommend Mr. Cripe.
Cost Effective Mediations
I enjoy working with Mr. Cripe. He is passionate about what he does and very knowledgeable and skilled. Unfortunately, most carriers now are not even willing to offer the amount of the medical specials to resolve a case. I know it's not Don's fault, but I have left very discouraged after several mediations due to the defendant insurance company's unwillingness to be reasonable.
Professional and knowledgeable
I was pleased with the service I received from CAMS. They were very professional and easy to work with from scheduling to the hearing itself. At the hearing, I found Mr. Cripe to be knowledgeable about the case and the area of law and provided a neutral environment that I was fair to both parties. I would use his services again and would recommend them to others.
CAMS mediation/Don Cripe - great service and value
Don did a great job mediating an employment case for my client involving a current employee and emotions that were running high. Slightly unorthodox locale and style, but quite effective. Look forward to working with CAMS again soon.
I first met Soheila while she was a supervisor for the San Bernardino court mediation provider. Her dedication to the process and her determination to resolve cases are unmatched. In family law cases, she can employ a collaborative approach or a straightforward one on one mediation. No matter what you seek, Soheila is the one you need. If I could give her a 6+ star rating, I would.
Dedicated Passionate Effective
As a family law trial attorney, I have known Don Cripe for the better part of 20 years. Don was dedicated to mediating family law cases long before most of his peers even considered the process an effective means of resolving divorce cases, especially those that had intensely conflicted parties and issues. Don is passionate about lifting divorcing couples (and especially their children) out of a litigation (trial) atmosphere, and the economically crushing expenditure of tens of thousands of dollars in attorneys fees and litigation costs, into a setting of thoughtful settlement negotiations and realistic, workable compromises concerning the parties' children, their assets/debts, and their pocketbooks when support issues are resolved. Don is effective in getting divorcing parties on with their lives with a divorce judgment in hand that incorporates the necessary tools that will allow them, and their kids, to experience the smoothest transition possible during one of life's most traumatic periods.
Mr. Cripe worked very hard to get our dispute to a resolution. It is clear that Mr. Cripe has a strong grasp of the practicalities of litigating a dispute and of the factors that are important in bringing that dispute to a resolution.
I Highly Recommend Don Cripe
I had the pleasure of shadowing Don Cripe during my ADR training. Don openheartedly shared his wealth of wisdom and experience on how to be a more effective mediator/arbitrator. Don’s wisdom is borne out of the unique combination of his many years of experience as a litigator, his passion for ADR, and his good heart. Don is competent, knowledgeable, and fair. His demeanor commands respect from both parties.
Don Cripe works hard to get matters resolved. He is always well prepared and dedicated to finding a way to get to "yes".
Don Cripe Settles Cases
Don Cripe of CAMS skillfully helped settle a case between two sisters over their father's estate that had been draining the both of them for years. His legal experience and humane respect for attorneys and litigants alike enabled the parties to end their half-decade legal feud. I'm currently using him for a personal injury case. He was a sole practitioner with a wide scope of practice before becoming a full-time mediator some years ago which allows him to skillfully mediate a broad range of cases from Probate and Family Law to Contract and Business Disputes.
Mr. Cripe was able to settle the claim even though the parties had been deadlocked for over one year. He related very well to my clients. I highly reccommend him.
Tremendous effort on court sponsored Mediation
Mr. Cripe was well informed on nature of case and worked very hard on a difficult and rather uncommon medical issue and general damages related thereto. He communicated plaintiffs' position clearly to defense counsel and adjuster to the point where settlement is inevitable. Well done!
Don Cripe did excellent job helping to settle our lawsuit.
I have worked with Don Cripe for several years now as a mediator colleague. I have found him to be extremely intelligent, ethical, and effective, and a strong proponent of mediation as a tool for resolving disputes for the benefit of the parties in terms of dollars and resources saved by avoiding expensive and protracted litigation, and in terms of allowing the parties to creatively craft resolutions not available to a trier of fact, whether judge or arbitrator. I highly recommend him.
Level of expertise and professional service
I found the expertise and professional service provided by CAMS was more than excellent. No doubt mediators at CAMS are well trained professionals. I recommend CAMS for any Alternative Dispute Resolution needs.
Don Cripe mediated a case in which I represented the plaintiff. He was professional, courteous, with no signs of bias for either party. His analysis of the facts and ability to convey information between counsel was quite good. While the case did not settle, the mediation served as a foundation for moving the case towards resolution. I would mediate with him again.
Arguably the most peaceful approach
My experience with mediation was that of shadowing, I was gaining my certificate of mediation. I followed gifted lawyers and judge, and watched them tirelessly facilitate cases between contentious parties. They monitored the anxiety in the room, stayed neutral, and kept interactions level-headed and respectful. My background as a marriage and family therapist (MFT) brought a different perspective to the mediation experience. Don Cripe was considerate of allowing my MFT experience into the mediation process. And the learning was bidirectional. What I noticed in mediation and replicated in the therapy room helped enhance my own practice with my clients. Win-win. Mediation was a worthwhile experience, and I strongly recommend it. The alternative is too big a risk. Resolving matters peaceably cannot be underestimated and resolving the case the earliest possible, preferably jointly, typically works out better for everyone. The help of a willing mediator is worth considering, no matter how small or big the dispute is, emotions and wills can run strong on either side. I respect this program, and all the mediators who serve it.
Knoweldgeable, thoughtful and practical
I have participated in mediation services with Mr. Cripe in my capacity as a family law attorney. I have found him to be knowledgeable in the law, thoughtful, and, perhaps most importantly for purposes of case resolution, practical. Mr. Cripe incorporates a critical cost/benefit component into his analysis and does it in such a way that it is easy to understand for parties who may well have no prior experience with the litigation process. His kind demeanor serves to put the participants at ease, thus facilitating honest discussion and leaving parties open to the possibility of resolving their matter without resort to the cost and uncertainty of the courtroom. I would recommend his services without hesitation.
Don Cripe, Mediator
I have used Don as a mediator several times. I have known Don for many years, first as an attorney in private practice, and the last few years as a mediator. Don is a very effective, tenacious and effective mediator who will stick to a case until it is resolved. He is particularly effective in cases involving high conflict personalities. Don is excellent in keeping the parties toward a reasonable negotiated resolution of their disputes. I would use him again and I highly recommend him to others.
Professional, caring and friendly!
CAMS is the greatest thing that has ever happened in the area of Alternative Dispute Resolution! Great Professionals, Low Rates, Compassion and Dedication in Service. What else can one ask for?! :)
I've used mediator Donald Cripe on several occasions and find him to be extremely effective. On a PI case he handled the defense with aplomb. He got a cranky adjuster to play ball and get our matter resolved. On another occasion he convinced an intransigent plaintiff to come down to earth. Better yet, CAMS's rates are far superior to the other more widely known ADR companies.
I have known Mr. Donald Cripe for over 25 years. During that time, I have used Mr. Cripe's services as a mediator on numerous occasions. Mr. Cripe has the ability to really listen to people and allow them to express their feelings, while at the same time help them look at their options in getting a case resolved. It has been my experience that Mr. Cripe has been able to resolve most of the cases I have had before him. At the same time, the respective parties most always leave the hearing with a sense of satisfaction and appreciation of Mr. Cripe's services. I highly recommend Mr. Cripe as a mediator.
Reasonable prices and committed service.
I have known the practitioners at CAMS for the last 3 years. They not only are devoted and knowledgable about their practice, they also regularly volunteer for court programs to assist people who might otherwise not be familiar with mediation.
Valued Experience for mediators in training
As a strong believer in academic training and education, I can not stress the importance and relevance of hands on experience/training that does not put the client or their concerns in jeopardy. As a Marriage & Family Therapist trainee/Intern completing my certification in mediation, I have had the privilege of shadowing Don Cripe and other members of the California Arbitration and Mediation (C.A.M.) team as they have mediated private cases. I have benefited greatly from their years of experience and expertise, their knowledge of the law, sensitivity and care toward the individuals involved (on both sides) and commitment to the process of mediation which empowers the clients in having the ultimate and final say in the outcome of their cases. Over and over, I have observed this to be a powerful and highly successful process, that saves time, money and emotional reserves, that far out way the frustration of dealing with impacted courts, excessive legal costs, and the disappointment of having no say in the courts outcome. I feel confident in recommending Don and other members of C.A.M.'s mediation and arbitration services as they represent the highest level of care and service available.
Professional and effective
I recently had the pleasure of studying the art and science of negotiation under the guidance of Don Cripe of CAMS. Don was a great coach. He provided wonderful life lessons and a perspective on Alternate Dispute Resolution that lent itself to great success. Don has proven that he knows his stuff with respect to theory and that he can practice what he preaches. He creates an atmosphere of cooperation and congeniality that is perfectly conducive for helping people reach an agreement when there is conflict. I would take my mediation and arbitration needs to CAMS!
Don Cripe: Low Key and Effective Mediator at a Very Reasonable Rate
I have participated in several mediations with Mr. Cripe. I have found him to be knowledgeable on many areas of the law. Mr. Cripe also has been an effective communicator of the basis of his neutral evaluation of the positives and negatives of my client's case so that the client understands and appreciates his suggestions. Mr. Cripe has a decidedly "low key" demeanor in mediation, which I find to be quite effective. I highly recommend his services.
The mediator was very knowledgeable and experienced and used his knowledge and experience in an even-handed way to help the parties find a reasonable resolution to their issue in dispute.
Don Cripe is the first person I contact when I have mediation issues. He is both knowledgable and approachable. Don has the respect of the local legal community. His opinion and work on mediation issues is highly regarded by his fellow mediators and attorneys.
We receive great mediation service from Mr. Cripe. He was professional and intelligent. Mediation was a success and my client was grateful for his honesty and diligence. Thank you.
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