Estate law is a very complex field that often involves high emotions with the loss of a loved one. When certain family members find grounds for dispute, it can be stressful trying to find a productive and peaceful resolution for all parties involved. Oftentimes, estate and trust disputes are settled through litigation, requiring the efforts of multiple professionals in a court setting to effectively resolve the problem. If you’re in need of an estate lawyer in Maryland to provide expert counsel and determined representation, the professionals at JDKatz are ready to help. Our estate planning attorneys in Bethesda and D.C. are here to help with every aspect of your will and estates, delivering personalized solutions to create the most secure outcome for your assets and your loved ones.

When your family is locked in a dispute over living trusts, wills, or any other aspect of estate law, there are a few different avenues that can help to remediate the dispute. Today, we’ll highlight a few common approaches that may help resolve your issues. When finished, be sure to reach out to our estate lawyers for assistance.

Litigation-Based Actions

The traditional method for resolving challenges, two parties in this scenario will seek litigation in court to receive a firm outcome for the case. Litigation is often based on distrust between the two parties, whether that involves administration issues, unfair practices, unkempt interests, or so on. The result is a legal contest that involves estate lawyers who can act as representatives and deliver the best case for their client. Unfortunately, litigation is a complex and often inefficient process that involves a number of tasks, including:

  • Court filings
  • Discovery proceedings
  • Depositions
  • Hearings
  • Supplementary Services

While litigation is a great approach for finding a summary judgement, the long proceedings and adversarial nature of the process tend to create a number of negatives for both parties involved. Courts are often limited in their abilities to find a suitable solution that benefits both parties. In many cases, the negative nature of litigation harms personal relationships beyond the point of repair. While our estate planning attorneys are able to serve as your trusted representative for court proceedings, we would rather focus on alternative dispute resolution practices.

ADR Approaches

Alternative dispute resolution is a phrase that is used to describe differing tactics that can help to resolve disputes between two parties in a manner that eliminates the need for legal proceedings. The goal of utilizing an ADR strategy is to save both parties from the negatives associated with the litigation process. These dispute measures can help to save time, money, and emotional stress. While there are many strategies being developed to help citizens avoid the court process, we will focus on the most prevalent approaches.


Parties seeking the executive authority of a judge without the inefficiencies of full litigation can seek out arbitration services. This method works much like the court system, except a trained expert, or “arbitrator,” serves in the place of a judge in a private setting. You can expect to go through the same processes as the court, including testimony and evidence. This approach is often more efficient and less costly than litigation, relying on a mutual third party source to act as the judge. It’s important to remember that, while still more beneficial overall, arbitration does create an adversarial setting that can still create negative feedback amongst family members. Your arbitrator may also make a judgement that neither party is happy with. Individuals who were not happy with the arbitrator’s decision will face a complex appeal process as well.


The best approach for resolving nearly any issue is to use a mediator to act as a neutral third party. Mediators are highly trained individuals who specialize in collaborative efforts, working hard to communicate between different parties and their lawyers to find common ground and encourage a mutual effort. It is important to remove the adversarial feel of this challenge, as both parties need to feel respected and understood for progress to begin.

In many cases, mediation will begin after litigation has started. This is often ordered by the judge before a trial hearing will be granted. Mediation benefits everyone involved, from the parties in the case saving money and stress to the court system freeing up more time and resources for other matters. When mandated by the court, though, mediation can fail to work because one or more parties were not interested in finding a mutual agreement for everybody. In either case, it’s important to have an estate attorney present to help you work to achieve the best outcome.

Litigation is never an easy process, and when it involves estate law issues, such as estate administrators and inheritance challenges, the stakes can be even higher. It’s important for you to find legal representation to help you through the complexities of this field in order to achieve the best results for your loved ones. JDKatz is staffed by experienced estate planning attorneys in Bethesda, creating personalized approaches for each of our clients to even the odds against a wide range of legal concerns. If you’re in need of assistance with your will or trusts, be sure to contact our estate lawyers in Maryland today.