As baby boomers reach their 70s and 80s a significant wealth transfer will be taking place from them to their adult children. Only about half of Canadians have a Will and only about a third have a Power of Attorney and Representation Agreement. This is bound to result in a significant increase in estate litigation as families struggle to determine the wishes of their aging and dying parents.
An alternative to litigation is mediation which is being used more and more to resolve issues that arise between family members. Mediation can decrease the costs for families and achieve a resolution in a timely and efficient manner. The main benefit of mediation however is that it is much less adversarial and can allow family members to create settlements they can accept rather than having a resolution imposed by the court.
Another benefit is that mediation is a process families can return to more than once if other issues arise as a family member ages. For example, a mediator can help resolve developing issues relating to higher levels of care that may be required. Mediation can be a very effective tool when addressing family disputes.
Deborah A. Todd