Focus of Probate and Trust MediationKevin G. Staker
Focus of Probate and Trust Mediation by Kevin Staker
As I begin my practice in probate and trust mediation, some of the factors I intend to emphasize are as follows:
Because of my 35 years of experience in probate and trust administration and the disputes that can arise in them, I can furnish input on the substance of the issues that may assist the parties in resolving their dispute. In particular, I may suggest ways to resolve the issues between the parties that neither the parties nor their counsel may have thought of.
I love people. I will dedicate myself to closely listening to people and coming to understand what their concerns are and in particular what their feelings are.
I will dedicate myself also to impartiality. I will maintain an unbiased view of the parties.
I will work to understand and resolve the competing needs and interests of the parties. I will work to assist the parties to communicate their respective needs and interests to each other. I will identify ways the parties can all accept to meet those needs and solve their problems. I will assist them in coming to an exchange of benefits that will satisfy their sense of fairness and redefine their relationship so that it is acceptable to all parties. I will dedicate myself to respecting the concerns of all parties and assist them in resolving their issues in a way that will satisfy the parties to the greatest extent possible.
My approach to mediation will be influenced by who I am.
– I care about people. No party will be unattractive or viewed as difficult. My goal will be to do what I can to assist the parties in resolving their issues, satisfying their interests, and getting peace in their lives.
– I will be impartial. I will focus on ways to assist the parties to decide for themselves. I will try my best to not favor any party. I will try hard to not form an opinion on how I think the dispute should be resolved. The feelings of the parties will be the only thing that is important. I will advocate for a fair process.
– I am dedicated to trustworthiness and credibility. I will not lie to a party. The only thing I can control in my life is my integrity.
– I will ask the attorneys for the parties for input on the procedures (in mediation lingo, the “process”) of the mediation. I will work with them to come up with the order of things that will be acceptable to all sides.
– I will enhance the negotiation process; I will correct perceptions, reduce unreasonable fears, and improve communication so the parties can reasonably discuss the issues.
– I likely have dealt with the issues in the mediation before in my practice. In my years of practice, I have seen it all. I may very well help the parties in expanding their settlement options. I will help them craft a settlement that can be implemented and not leave any issue unresolved that should be resolved I will help them think it through and come up with a settlement that will be enforceable and stand the test of time.
– I have been appearing in probate court for over 35 years, but I have done very little probate and trust litigation myself. Hence, I have no ill will toward any attorney for any litigant. In addition, I am a very forgiving person. The few attorneys who have done things that may have upset me in the past are forgiven. “Who am I to judge another when I walk imperfectly.” [from a church hymn.]
– I am creative. I will “think outside the box” to come up with procedures in the mediation that will assist the parties in coming to a meeting of the minds.
In sum, if parties hire my services for a mediation, I will care about the parties and their concerns. When appropriate, I will use my experience in the law to suggest creative settlement ideas the parties may not have considered. I will be patient and dedicated in trying to assist the parties in settling their issues in a way that will be long lasting.