Probate mediation
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By Dorit Goikhman
Founding Attorney

When it comes to the sensitive subject of wills and estates, disputes can arise, often leading to complex legal battles. Probate mediation serves as an alternative, bringing together involved parties to find a resolution without resorting to court. If you’re navigating the tumultuous waters of estate disagreements in California, understanding the role of a probate mediator or estate mediator can be invaluable. Here’s a closer look at how probate mediation works and why it’s gaining traction, especially in the Golden State.

What is Probate Mediation?

Probate mediation is a process wherein a neutral third party, the probate mediator, assists family members, beneficiaries, or other involved parties in discussing and resolving conflicts related to an estate. This can include issues like the division of assets, disagreements over will interpretation, or disputes concerning the handling of the deceased’s affairs.

Benefits of Probate Mediation

Cost-Efficient: Legal battles can be costly. Mediation, on the other hand, is generally more cost-effective, saving everyone involved both time and money.

Confidentiality: Unlike court proceedings, which are public record, mediation allows for privacy, ensuring that sensitive family matters and financial details remain confidential.

Flexibility: A California mediator specializing in estates offers a flexible approach, tailoring the mediation process to the unique dynamics and needs of the involved parties.

Preservation of Relationships: Litigation can strain relationships, sometimes causing irreparable harm. Mediation promotes open communication and understanding, often helping to preserve familial ties.

Control: Rather than having a judge dictate the outcome, mediation empowers the involved parties to create mutually beneficial solutions, giving them more control over the final agreement.

How a Probate or Estate Mediator Works

Initial Meeting: The probate mediator often starts by meeting with each party individually, understanding their concerns, and establishing rapport.

Joint Session: Parties come together in a joint session, discussing their issues openly. The mediator facilitates these discussions, ensuring they remain productive and respectful.

Exploring Solutions: Through a series of negotiations, parties brainstorm and evaluate potential solutions. The mediator helps guide this process, ensuring all voices are heard.

Final Agreement: Once an agreement is reached, it’s put into writing. While this document can be legally binding, its primary intent is to ensure all parties adhere to the mutually agreed-upon terms.

Choosing the Right Mediator

When seeking a California mediator for probate disputes, it’s vital to choose someone with a deep understanding of estate law and the intricacies of mediation. They should be skilled at handling emotional dynamics, given the sensitive nature of probate disputes.


Probate mediation offers a compassionate, efficient, and flexible approach to resolving estate disputes. With the guidance of a seasoned estate mediator, families can find common ground, allowing them to honor their loved one’s legacy without getting entangled in prolonged legal battles. For those in California, seeking a specialized California mediator ensures the process is tailored to the specific nuances and needs of estate mediation in the state.

About the Author
Dorit L. Goikhman is a licensed attorney, with years of experience representing clients throughout Central California in business, real estate, and family matters. After witnessing numerous clients spend fortunes and waste years of their lives in litigation, Dorit became interested in mediation and all that it has to offer. Dorit is committed in helping parties work together to obtain a mutually acceptable solution to their disputes at a fair price. Her approach is to keep things simple, confidential, and efficient with the goal of preserving the parties’ assets, reputations, and sanity. If you have any questions regarding this blog, you can contact Dorit here.