What Does It Mean When A Case Goes To Litigation?
In an ideal world, there is little to no conflict when it comes to settling an estate, and in most cases, there isn’t. Unfortunately, problems do arise. This could be because family members contest what is outlined in the deceased’s will or the deceased didn’t leave a will.
That’s when a case will go to litigation. During the litigation phase, the estate litigation attorney will file the appropriate petition to the court that states the relevant facts and laws. From there, litigation officially enters the discovery phase in which evidence is sought and examined. This includes document subpoenas, bank statements, and sworn depositions.
Before a case is brought to full trial, the judge will usually order the parties to enter mediation. That means both parties will meet with a mediator to see if disagreements can be worked out without the expense of a full trial.
Should mediation fail, the next step is preparing for the trial. This is usually a “bench trial” which means a judge will preside over the trial, but there won’t be a jury. Estate litigation is a complicated and expensive process, which is why mediation is always the preferred outcome.