At a Glance
The Institute of Dispute Resolution was founded in 2012. Previously known as Jon Graham Consulting, ISDR has been offering mediation for over 16 years.
ISDR uses two mediators for most cases. We draw upon a pool of experienced practitioners and assign a team that is best suited to meet the needs of each case. In most cases, a gender balanced team in used.
Our mediators come from a range of professional disciplines including law, business, HR, commerce, government and social work.
Our mediators are registered Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners, who are able to issue Section 60I certificates where appropriate under the Family Law Act, 1975.
Wills and Estates
The settlement of wills and estates can be stressful for all involved. Sometimes there is no will and often wills are written in a way that lacks the clarity that the Executor needs. Sometimes a will is clearly written but contains unexpected decisions that cause distress for some family members. We apply a mediation model to assist parties to resolve their disputes and allow the space that is needed to process grief and loss. At ISDR, we provide a safe environment for you to have a constructive conversation with a view to better understanding each other’s perspective. We then help you to collaborate or negotiate with each other in order to make decisions.
PRINCIPLES OF MEDIATION
There are a couple of things that are important to know as you begin to consider the possibility of mediation with ISDR:
- The role of the mediators is to be neutral – We won’t take sides with either of you. We won’t make decisions for you and we won’t tell you what to do.
- Because the mediators are neutral, it does not matter who requests the mediation process. Both parties are treated equally.
- ISDR is focused on providing a process that is safe for all the parties. If you have any concerns about your safety, it is really important that you let us know.
- At ISDR, we are proponents of the mediation process because it offers the possibility of a cheaper and less conflictual process to the alternative of a legal process through the Courts.
- However, if you are unable to reach agreement in mediation, and decide to pursue a legal process, under the Evidence (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1958 nothing said during a mediation can be used in court.
- Call or email ISDR and ask to speak with a mediator
One of our mediators will explain the mediation process to you and you can ask any questions you may have. If you would like to proceed with mediation, we can then discuss the best way to invite the other party/parties (e.g. other beneficiaries and/or family members) to participate in mediation.
- Legal Advice
It is important to speak with a lawyer who specialises in wills and estates to understand what findings a judge would be likely to make, in your case. In addition, it is worth asking the following questions:
- What is the range of possible outcomes if you were to take this matter to court?
- What is the most likely outcome?
- How long is it likely to take to get a judgment and court orders, if you were to take this to court?
- How much money will the entire legal process take?
This information will help you to make informed decisions during the mediation.
- Pre-mediation appointment with a mediator (1-1.5 hours)
- Preparation for mediation
One of our mediators will meet with each of you separately. The purpose of this meeting is to clarify what your expectations are about the range of possible outcomes in the mediation and to explain in detail how the mediation works. This meeting also provides the mediators with an opportunity to assess whether or not it is a case that is suitable for mediation and it provides you with an opportunity to assess whether you are comfortable to proceed with mediation with the ISDR mediators.
You will need to ask the Executor of the will to provide a list of the assets of the estate and their current value. This will enable you to consider any offers of settlement and prepare your own offers.
If the mediator and all parties are willing to proceed with mediation, an appointment will be made for all parties to meet together. Mediations typically take 3 hours. Sometimes all issues are resolved in the first session. Sometimes additional sessions are necessary.
The mediator will type up any agreements that are made during the mediation. This document is not legally binding. The parties can make their agreement binding by engaging lawyers to prepare terms of settlement and make an application to the court for consent orders.