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How to resolve disputes between beneficiaries

An inheritance-related dispute can be emotional for everyone involved. That's why mediators should realize that everyone goes through the grieving process differently. In many cases, this grief can be triggered by a variety of issues. For some, the conflict resolution process may help with the grieving process. Therefore, mediators in California should also understand that disputes about money could really be about validation or a proxy for other relationship problems.

In some cases, solving a relationship issue could lead to resolving an issue about money. However, there are times when a person truly needs his or her inheritance to get by or simply wants a larger share because of a desire to be greedy. In such a scenario, a mediator should strive to focus the discussion on how relationships can be more valuable than money.

A mediator may also strive to ensure that no one feels embarrassed to talk about the issues involved. When people are embarrassed, they are less likely to open up about their problems. Furthermore, it is important that all parties are at the negotiating table (assuming that they are of age). This could include children or grandchildren who have received assets from a deceased individual.

Ideally, heirs will aim to resolve their disputes in a timely manner whether through mediation or litigation. This may minimize depletion of assets as less money will go to legal fees or court costs. It can also help to preserve relationships within a family. An attorney could work with an individual to develop a strategy that will resolve an inheritance dispute. In some cases, this may mean getting a deceased parent's home or the rights to an art collection as opposed to receiving cash.

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