Deed Transfer After Death Preparing for Potential Disputes

Deed Transfer After Death Preparing for Potential Disputes

Resolving Disputes through Mediation or Litigation

In this blog post, we will explore the differences between the two and the benefits of each.


Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution where a neutral third party, known as a mediator, helps the parties involved in a dispute reach a mutually acceptable agreement. The mediator facilitates communication between the parties and helps them identify their interests and needs. Unlike litigation, which is adversarial in nature, mediation focuses on collaboration and finding common ground.

  • Benefit of Mediation: Cost-effective

One of the main benefits of mediation is that it is often more cost-effective than litigation. Mediation typically involves fewer legal fees and court costs, as the parties are able to resolve their dispute outside of the courtroom. This can be especially beneficial for individuals or businesses who are looking to save time and money.

Industry Statistics:

According to the American Arbitration Association, the average cost of mediation is significantly lower than the cost of litigation. This makes mediation an attractive option for parties looking to resolve their disputes in a timely and cost-effective manner.

  • Benefit of Mediation: Confidentiality

Another advantage of mediation is confidentiality. Unlike litigation, which is a matter of public record, the details of a mediation session are private and confidential. This can be beneficial for parties who wish to keep their dispute out of the public eye and maintain their privacy.

Industry Statistics:

Research conducted by the Association for Conflict Resolution found that parties are more likely to comply with the terms of a settlement reached through mediation due to the confidential nature of the process.


Litigation is the process of resolving disputes through the court system. It is a formal, legal process where each party presents their case to a judge or jury, who then make a final decision on the matter. Litigation can be time-consuming and costly, but it is sometimes necessary when parties are unable to reach a resolution through other means.

  • Benefit of Litigation: Legal Recourse

One of the main benefits of litigation is that it provides parties with a legal recourse when other methods of dispute resolution have failed. In some cases, litigation may be necessary to protect one’s rights and seek a fair resolution to a dispute.

Industry Statistics:

According to the National Center for State Courts, approximately 97% of civil cases are resolved through settlements reached before trial. This demonstrates the effectiveness of litigation in encouraging parties to reach a resolution outside of the courtroom.

  • Benefit of Litigation: Binding Decision

Another advantage of litigation is that the final decision made by a judge or jury is legally binding. This provides parties with certainty and ensures that the terms of the resolution will be enforced. While litigation can be contentious, the finality of a court decision can bring closure to a dispute.

Industry Statistics:

A study conducted by the American Bar Association found that parties are more likely to comply with court orders and judgments than with settlements reached through alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation.

Understanding the Importance of Joint Ownership and Beneficiary Designations

Let’s delve deeper into these considerations and how they can benefit you and your family.

The Power of Joint Ownership

Joint ownership is a common estate planning strategy that allows assets to pass directly to the surviving joint owner without having to go through probate. This can be particularly beneficial for assets such as real estate, bank accounts, and investment accounts. By adding a co-owner to these assets, you can ensure that they automatically transfer to the joint owner upon your passing.

One of the key advantages of joint ownership is the avoidance of probate. Probate can be a time-consuming and costly process that can delay the distribution of assets to your beneficiaries. By setting up joint ownership, you can bypass this process altogether and provide your loved ones with a quicker and more efficient transfer of assets.

Another significant benefit of joint ownership is the ability to avoid certain taxes. When assets pass directly to a surviving joint owner, they may not be subject to estate taxes. This can result in substantial savings for your beneficiaries and ensure that they receive a larger portion of your estate.

The Importance of Beneficiary Designations

Beneficiary designations are another essential aspect of estate planning that can help ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes. Beneficiary designations are commonly used for retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and other financial assets.

By naming specific beneficiaries for these assets, you can bypass probate and ensure that your assets are distributed directly to the intended recipients. This can help avoid any confusion or disputes among family members and provide a clear plan for the distribution of your assets.

One of the key benefits of beneficiary designations is the ability to designate contingent beneficiaries. Contingent beneficiaries are individuals who will receive your assets in the event that the primary beneficiary is unable to do so. This can provide an added layer of protection and ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes.

Considerations for Joint Ownership and Beneficiary Designations

When considering joint ownership and beneficiary designations, there are a few key factors to keep in mind. It’s essential to review and update these designations regularly, especially after major life events such as marriage, divorce, or the birth of a child.

It’s also crucial to ensure that your beneficiary designations align with the rest of your estate plan. If there are discrepancies between your will and your beneficiary designations, it can lead to confusion and potential disputes among family members. By keeping these designations up to date and consistent with your overall estate plan, you can ensure a smooth and efficient transfer of assets to your loved ones.

Lastly, it’s essential to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney to ensure that your joint ownership and beneficiary designations are set up correctly and in accordance with state laws. An attorney can help you navigate the complexities of estate planning and provide you with guidance on the best strategies to protect your assets and provide for your loved ones.

Joint ownership and beneficiary designations are powerful estate planning tools that can help streamline the transfer of assets to your loved ones. By understanding the importance of these considerations and working with an experienced estate planning attorney, you can ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes and provide for your family’s future financial security.

Don’t wait until it’s too late to consider joint ownership and beneficiary designations. Start planning now to protect your assets and provide for your loved ones in the years to come.

Establishing Clear Ownership with a Will or Trust

While both serve similar purposes, there are some key differences between the two that individuals should be aware of when deciding which option is best for their needs.


A will is a legal document that allows you to specify how you want your assets and property to be distributed after your death. It typically names an executor who is responsible for carrying out your wishes and distributing your assets to your beneficiaries. A will can include specific instructions for things like who will inherit specific items, how debts and taxes will be paid, and who will care for minor children.

One of the main benefits of a will is that it is a straightforward and cost-effective way to ensure that your assets are passed on according to your wishes. It also allows you to make changes to your estate plan as needed throughout your lifetime. However, it is important to note that a will must go through probate, which is a legal process that can be time-consuming and costly.


A trust, on the other hand, is a legal arrangement that allows a third party, known as a trustee, to hold assets on behalf of beneficiaries. There are different types of trusts, including revocable trusts, which can be changed or revoked during your lifetime, and irrevocable trusts, which cannot be changed once they are established. A trust can help to avoid probate and provide more privacy in the distribution of your assets.

One of the main benefits of a trust is that it allows for more control over how and when your assets are distributed. It can also help to protect your assets from creditors and lawsuits. Additionally, a trust can provide for the care of minor children or individuals with special needs in a way that a will may not be able to.

According to a recent study, only 42% of adults in the United States have a will or trust in place. This means that a significant number of individuals are at risk of having their assets distributed according to state laws rather than their own wishes. By establishing a will or trust, you can ensure that your assets are passed on in the way that you intended, providing peace of mind for both yourself and your loved ones.

Ultimately, whether you choose to establish ownership through a will or a trust will depend on your individual circumstances and goals. Both options have their own unique benefits and considerations, so it is important to consult with a qualified estate planning attorney to determine the best course of action for your specific situation. By taking the time to carefully plan for the future, you can help to ensure that your assets are protected and your loved ones are provided for according to your wishes.