By: David M. Frees III & Steve Lagoy
Pennsylvania estate disputes can cause significant fallout in a family business and some disputes are rooted in such a way that they lend themselves toward formal litigation. Litigation, of course, can drain assets and resources from the business and involved parties and, in many cases, permanently sever professional and familial relationships.
One means of solving these conflicts is called alternative dispute resolution (ADR), and mediation is among the ADR options most commonly employed by family businesses going through legal disputes.
Mediation involves the assignment of a mediator, a neutral and objective third party who will moderate the proceedings and provide a non-binding recommendation based on the facts of the dispute and only after hearing conflicting issues from both sides.
There are several reasons that family business disputes can be favorably resolved by mediation:
- recommendations are non-binding, which means that the conflicting parties still maintain control;
- mediation is significantly more expeditious and cost-effective than formal litigation;
- mediation is a private matter, and so there will never be any public record of it, as opposed to going to court; and
- mediation encourages and enables compromise, providing an avenue of reconciliation for the family members involved.
In many mediation agreements, mediation serves to prevent conflict as much as it serves to end it. More often than not, family business controversies arise because there is a misunderstanding, not because there are malevolent forces at work. Because of this, mediation services are encouraged between family business partners long before conflict begins brewing over differing opinions or interpretations.
Consult a Pennsylvania Mediation Attorney
Whether it’s collaborating with your tax advisors, assisting with the filing of Federal Estate and Gift Tax Returns and Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax Returns, or providing services to facilitate the resolution of estate and trust administrations, our firm is dedicated to providing unparalleled and uncompromised service to our clients. Contact a Pennsylvania mediation attorney for more information on how the Law Offices of Unruh, Turner, Burke & Frees can help you. Call us today – 1-610-692-1371.