The methods of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), including mediation and arbitration, have become an increasingly popular alternative to lawsuits, given the constraints, time, and resources associated with court cases. These methods allow the disputing parties to reach a mutually agreeable settlement without the uncertainty and stress of formal litigation. Mediation and arbitration come with numerous other benefits, including complete confidentiality of the process, facilitated discussions, the cost-saving factor, and the ability to achieve a settlement in a matter of hours and days instead of months or years. For these and other reasons, mediation and arbitration clauses are integrated into various contracts, including employment contracts, construction agreements, manufacturing agreements, and other contracts where parties give priority to mediation or arbitration processes or waive the right to trial by jury altogether. Although many individuals use the terms mediation and arbitration interchangeably, there is a distinct difference between these two. It is essential to understand this difference to choose the most effective way to settle a dispute and make the best use of each of these methods. Mediation Unlike arbitration or litigation, mediation is a non-binding process of settling disputes facilitated by a mediator. A mediator represents neither of the parties and participates in the process with the sole purpose of facilitation. Contrary to arbitrators, mediators do not make any decisions in a dispute. They cannot force either of the parties to come to an agreement. Instead, mediators help parties understand the consequences of their choices and consider the legal position and arguments of the other participants. Mediation allows for a more informal process while providing for complete confidentiality. Most often, the parties who agree to mediation and make a sincere effort to settle their claim are able to reach a settlement in a short time at a fraction of the cost of litigation. Finally, if the parties don't come to an agreement through mediation, they may proceed to litigation. Arbitration The arbitration is the process resembling a lawsuit in which the parties present their case to the panel of arbitrators who have the final say in the dispute. In binding arbitration, the participants are bound by the arbitration panel's decision and cannot proceed to trial. In non-binding arbitration, the parties get the decision from the arbitration panel, but they can move the case forward and try their chances in court if they choose to. Most often, the arbitrators are lawyers with extensive experience in the area of a dispute. The arbitration process comes with the value of having the panel of professionals review and settle the case instead of resolving it in front of a judge or a jury. The arbitration also offers complete confidentiality and is much cheaper than a full-blown lawsuit. Summary Mediation and arbitration clauses are included in many contracts and provide an effective means to dispute resolution while keeping the dispute itself confidential. These methods for alternative dispute resolution provide cost and time saving and offer the participants a more informal setting, facilitating the discussion and settlement. Those interested in alternatives to a formal lawsuit would benefit from the services of professional mediators and arbitrators, possessing extensive experience in the area of the dispute and well-versed in alternative dispute resolution through mediation or arbitration. Consider visiting with Torres Mediation for an assessment with one of our experienced mediators at (321) 821-9995.
As children begin or return to college, parents take extraordinary measures to make sure that they are prepared for the experience. From purchasing books, clothes, and computers, parents want to make sure that they send their teenagers to college well-equipped to handle the year ahead. However, many parents do not think about how they should change their estate plan as their children head off to college. These children are now young adults, and likely have completely different needs and maturity levels than they did when they were younger. Parents should review their trust and health care decisions in the event of their death or incapacitation. If you are a parent with college-bound children, consider visiting with an experienced estate planning attorney at Modern Wealth Law at (949) 971-5003 to ensure your legal and financial rights remain protected. Health Care Directives/ POA for your college student When your son or daughter becomes 18, by law they are an adult. Therefore, you no longer have parental rights to make decisions for them regarding their healthcare. This becomes an issue if your child is in a situation where he or she is unable to make decisions due to incapacity (e.g. car accident or severely ill).While many parents think to include how they want their estate divided following their death through a Trust or Last Will and Testament (will), they may not take additional measures to be in a position to make decisions for their adult children if their children become incapacitated as a result of an accident or an injury. In these cases, it is important to have additional documents, including a Health Care Directive or Living Will and a Durable Power of Attorney for your children, which specifies that you have power to make decisions for your children in the event of incapacity.Without a Health Care Directive identifying you as your child’s health care agent, you have no say in their medical care. In addition, due to HIPPA and other confidentiality regulations, you wouldn’t be privy to any medical treatment your son or daughter is receiving. Once these documents are completed it is important that copies are stored with family members or other trusted advisors for quick access. Once children are college-bound, incapacity planning becomes even more important, to ensure that your children’s wishes are carried out appropriately. Setting up a healthcare Power of Attorney before your child goes to college will keep you in the loop with any important medical needs your son or daughter will need once they have turned 18. This will provide some peace of mind for you and your child in the case of a real emergency with the hopes that you will never actually need it.In the long run, you and your college-age student will greatly benefit from having their Health Care Directive and Power of Attorney documentation in order, especially during times like these. Legacy Planning for Parents with College-Bound Kids Parents with college-bound children, especially those who have a blended family, should consider estate planning documents that address legacy planning. While every family will have different needs and circumstances, in many cases, a Living Trust or Family Trust can be used to provide for the needs of the child during this period of life—as well as managing and investing money on his/her behalf. Parents may also want to consider supplemental trusts such as Education Funding which could help provide for ongoing education costs beyond four years at college. The parents' ability to control the funds may be important since some children may be impulsive while in college. Additionally, visiting with an experienced estate planning attorney can help parents better understand how their overall estate plan will be taxed by the Internal Revenue Service, and take advantage of certain types of legal documents for their specific circumstances. Consider Updating Your Life Insurance Policy Estate planning is not simply about the creation of a Will or Trust. It should be a holistic strategy to ensure the legal and financial wishes of the parents are carried out. As such, parents may also wish to look at the possibility of purchasing (or adding to) a life Insurance policy. If something were to happen to a parent, these life insurance funds could be used for college expenses or would provide financial assets to use later in life as an adult child begins their career and family. Missing Estate Planning Documents For many parents, their missing estate planning documents may be the result of believing that nothing bad will ever happen to them. In other cases, parents simply do not know the legal options available to them regarding how to financially protect themselves and their children in the unimaginable event of their death. However, by not planning now, a parent is jeopardizing the future of their children by potentially causing family discord at the time when they need all parties to work together most. Consider Visiting with an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney Today An experienced estate planning attorney can help a parent choose the right options for their situation and motivate them to take action before it is too late. This is often more comforting than trying to sort through options after a tragedy has occurred. Estate planning attorneys also have access to resources that a parent missed or did not consider when they were reviewing financial matters at home by themselves. Consider visiting with Modern Wealth Law for an assessment with one of our experienced estate planning lawyers at (949) 371-5003. We can help ensure that your wishes regarding your health and finances are protected for both you, as well as your college-aged children.
In the first meeting with your divorce lawyer, it is important to assess their competence and experience. You can also establish certain expectations throughout this process including communications from them by phone or email as well fees/costs for legal services they provide in addition to overall case strategy which may include setting up meetings periodically after initially discussing all aspects of what's going on between yourselves so that nothing falls through the cracks! Lawyers will get paid only when there has been successful completion but being prepared helps everyone feel more at ease during those initial conversations We have created a helpful infographic for your reference. Feel free to share this.