Estate Litigation or Family Provisions Claims are usually actions taken by individuals who have been left out of a will. The sole purpose of these claims is for these people to try and gain a benefit from the estate of which they believe they are entitled too.
However, much like all forms of litigation in New South Wales, estate litigation takes time to go through the NSW Supreme Court System. Due to this, the Court has mandated a system of Alternative Dispute Resolution to try and quicken the chances of matter resolving. The quicker a matter settles, the more likely the parties will avoid excessive legal fees. That is why it is always in the interests of both the executor and the applicant to consider settling a matter if possible.
The NSW Supreme Court offers a number of different avenues for dispute resolution for Estate matters. However, there are different thresholds depending on the value of the estate. Usually, this does not matter as the end result you are looking to achieve is always similar.
There are many benefits to trying to settle a matter of estate litigation. Whilst there are numerous advantages, the key ones are as follows.
Control and Flexibility
When entering into settlement discussions the key takeaway is that the parties are in control. This means that both parties can have an equal say in the terms of the proceedings, rather than the decision being made by one Judge.
Informal and Inexpensive
Both parties have the ability to be more engaged than they would be in a court setting. Courts have a number of rules and regulations, whilst mediation or settlement discussions do not. In turn, this means that the parties usually do not have to pay for the matter to run to Court. This means that each party would walk away with more money in their pocket than if the matter ran in Court.
When you have a matter heard in Court, there is always one winner. This means that everyone else is a loser. By entering into settlement discussions, the parties have the ability to agree to a compromise which means that neither is a true winner or loser. This minimizes risk and means that all parties involved can move on with their lives quickly.
Due to this, we strongly recommend that all parties entertain the idea of trying to settle a matter when possible. Estate litigation and Family Provisions Claims can be expensive and time consuming. Sometimes, by agreeing to a compromise, both parties can be better off than the risk of having the matter heard in the Supreme Court of NSW.
Written By Cameron Spanner.