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Mediation Settlement Agreement in Florida Probates — how to read them

In the News • Oct 10, 2021
post about Mediation Settlement Agreement in Florida Probates — how to read them

Mediation settlement agreements in Florida probates are intended to END your estate dispute. So, why is there so much litigation, and many appeals, over these documents? This free legal commentary will discuss a recent, 2021 case involving an estate settlement. In writing ! What do you do when a court order says one thing, and your settlement agreement says another? [ For those of you who have not attended mediation yet, get ready ! Retired judges say repeatedly that it’s your best chance to get an inheritance. Or end a fight–with a lot less risk than trial. To see a FREE FLORIDA PROBATE VIDEO on how to win at mediation, CLICK HERE. ]

Mediation settlement agreement. Still fighting after you settled your Florida probate case?

How To Read a Settlement Agreement

In Florida probate disputes, judges will order the parties to attend a mediation.

A mediation is a settlement conference. There is a neutral, third party facilitator, called a “mediator.” She will attempt to foster discussion and see if the parties want to settle. If a settlement is reached, it will be reduced to a written and signed settlement agreement.

What happens if there is a dispute over the document? AFTER you settled ?

How do you read a mediation settlement agreement ?

Here are some bullet points:

  • Read the plain language of the agreement. That’s the starting point.
  • Don’t read too much into it. If the language is clear and unambiguous, then it says what it says and means what it means.
  • Just because you and the other side to your probate dispute disagree with what the agreement says, that does NOT mean that it’s ambiguous.
  • Only if there is an ambiguity, may a court hear evidence. This is often called “extrinsic” or “parole” evidence.
  • If there was a mistake in the document, ask your estate litigation law firm to consider seeking a reformation to correct the mistake.

Mediation Settlement Agreement Opinion — February 12, 2021

On February 12, 2021, Florida’s 1st District Court of Appeal issued an OPINION. This opinion was an important one, even though it did not receive a lot of attention.

The Florida Appeals Court opinion dealt with a mediation settlement agreement. And who had to pay attorneys fees for a trust or probate appeal. The agreement seemed pretty clear. But there was an order from the Court that said something else.

What happens? When an order says something different than what you agreed to in writing?

To view a FREE FLORIDA MEDIATION VIDEO on how to prepare for your mediation, CLICK THIS LINK.