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How to Prepare for a Mediation in a Florida Probate Case

Be Prepared for mediation in a Florida Probate Case

Hello, my name is John Pankauski, I’m an estate and trust litigation attorney with Pankauski Hauser.

If you are involved in an inheritance lawsuit, a probate litigation case, you are going to go to mediation. Why? Because most probate court judges before trial will order you too. You are going into a mediation, do you have to prepare and what should you know. Well you should know a few things.
1) Prepare for it like a hearing. Bring your evidence, bring your depositions transcripts, bring the hearing transcripts from court, bring the facts and answers to interrogatory and requests for admissions as well as the answer to the complaint or the lawsuit so you have all the facts in front of the mediator.
2) Look for a mediator who has mediated this particular type of case before. He or she will better understand the issues more quickly.
3) Be patient, Mediation can last an entire day, I’ve been involved in a number of meditations that actually extend into multiple days. When your patient, understand that mediation is a slow process, but it really can work. It can bring people together to at least resolve disputes.
4) Understand that a good mediation is typically one where no one is happy. That means somebody gives up something to get something, resolution.
5) Understand that there is no judge or arbitrator or arbitration panel at the mediation. No one is going to order you to do anything so you don’t have to settle the case or resolve an issue unless you want too.
6) You should have a written settlement agreement that says what your deal is if you do settle it and determine if you need the court to approve that or not.
7) Understand that there is appellate court cases out there that don’t let somebody back out of the mediation, If they have signed a settlement agreement. If you have a signed settlement agreement and you have had counsel mediated and you have a deal, in writing, you can’t then go to the court, absent of some type of fraud, and try to get out of the deal. No Monday morning quarterbacking with mediation.
Finally understand that the mediation although it often works to be a frustrating process, and it can take some time. Be cautious, be prepared and go with somebody who has attended mediation in the past. There is a lot of good probate and estate lawyers in Florida who have been to dozens and dozens of mediation, and the skill set that’s unique. My name is John Pankauski and this concludes my remarks on how to prepare for a Florida Probate Mediation.