Succession mediation

Definition of Succession Mediation

Succession mediation is a collaborative and voluntary process aimed at preventing or resolving disagreements or disputes that may arise during the planning or resolution of an estate. Unlike the judicial path, succession mediation focuses on finding mutually beneficial solutions for all parties involved.

Conflicts and disputes that arise during estate matters can stem from divergent interpretations of a will, contested asset distribution, or other personal or emotional factors. Facilitated by a professional mediator, succession mediation provides a framework to address these issues in a neutral and secure environment.

An Alternative to the Judicial Route

The Limitations of the Judicial Path

The judicial route is lengthy, expensive, and emotionally challenging for the parties involved. Moreover, court decisions are typically binding and may not reflect the individual needs and concerns of the heirs. They are also subject to appeals or legal challenges, extending the process by several years and creating lasting uncertainty and insecurity.

The Benefits of Succession Mediation

Succession mediation offers several distinct advantages. It is generally faster and less costly than traditional legal proceedings. It also gives parties the opportunity to control the process and collaborate to find solutions that take into account everyone’s needs and concerns.

Another significant advantage in the context of estate matters is that the emotional aspect, which does not march in a judicial proceeding, is embraced and becomes a tool in mediation. It assures participants that they can express themselves and have been heard.

Unlike a judgment issued in a legal proceeding, agreements reached during mediation are more flexible and tailored to the unique circumstances of each situation. This flexibility allows close relatives of the parties involved to be heard as well, whereas the legal route often leaves them on the sidelines.

Finally, the mediation process is fully confidential, meaning that the details of discussions and agreements are not made public unless all parties desire otherwise.

The Succession Mediation Process

Individual Meetings

Before the mediation starts, the mediator may meet with each party individually. These meetings allow the mediator to understand the concerns and needs of each heir. They also provide a secure space for the parties to express their feelings and concerns.

Joint Meetings

Following the individual meetings, the parties come together for joint sessions with the mediator or co-mediators. These meetings provide heirs with an opportunity to openly discuss their concerns, listen to others’ viewpoints, and collaborate to find individualized solutions.

Drafting an Agreement

Once a tailored solution is reached, the parties draft an agreement detailing the terms of their arrangement. This agreement is legally binding.

Succession Mediation in Practice


Before starting the mediation, it is essential that all parties are willing and open to discussion. It is also important to select a qualified and experienced mediator in estate matters.

Process Planning

Planning is a crucial step in the mediation process. It involves defining dates, times, and the location of mediation sessions, as well as ensuring that all parties have access to the necessary information and documents.

Presentation of a Joint Meeting Procedure

During a joint meeting, the mediator encourages open and honest communication. Parties are invited to actively listen and avoid interruptions. The mediator facilitates exchanges, helping to clarify viewpoints, identify common interests, and generate resolution options.

Common Misconceptions and Common Mistakes in Mediation

Mediation is neither therapy nor a miracle solution, nor does it exist in an idealized world. It is a process that requires engagement and work from all participants.

The Benefits of Co-Mediation

Co-mediation involves two mediators working together to facilitate the mediation process. This approach offers several advantages:

  • Balance: In situations where tensions are high, the presence of two mediators help balance the dynamics in the room, ensuring that all parties feel heard and understood.
  • Efficiency: With two mediators, it is possible to concurrently manage different aspects of the dispute, potentially shortening the process.
  • Diversity of Skills and Perspectives: Having two mediators allows for the combination of different skills, expertise, and viewpoints.

Frequently Asked Questions about Succession Mediation

Can mediation be initiated at any time?

Yes, mediation can be considered at any time, whether during estate planning or after the estate has been opened. When a dispute arises, mediation can be pursued at any point, whether before initiating a legal proceeding or even during one.

How long does the mediation process take?

The duration of mediation depends on the complexity of the dispute and the parties’ willingness to find a solution. It is difficult to provide an exact estimate. As a guideline, achieving an agreement within 6 to 12 months is a realistic goal.

Who can participate in mediation?

Anyone involved in the dispute can participate in mediation. This includes heirs but may also encompass other concerned individuals, particularly close relatives of the heirs. The attorneys for each party are also important participants.

How much does succession mediation cost, and who pays?

The costs of mediation vary based on the duration and complexity of the estate. Generally, costs are shared among the parties, but this can be negotiated and defined at the outset of the process.

In mediation, anything is possible as long as each person’s agreement is obtained.