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Saturday, November 7, 2015

Man shoots at brother after argument over estate

Yikes! I've seen estate disputes get heated, but this is ridiculous. A man named George Holmes in Fort Smith, Arkansas, went over to his brother's house and took four shots at his brother through the front door. Why? Because they were involved in an estate dispute. Read more about this story by clicking here.

I can see why people get frustrated and angry with estates. Everyone is paying a ton of money to their lawyers and the process seems to go on absolutely forever. People honestly don't realize what they are getting themselves into when they start a court fight over an estate.

I've thought for years that the court system is really not the best place for the resolution of estates, and I am more convinced than ever that I'm right. I believe that when a dispute arises, families should go straight to mediation, and only if that fails should they go to court. Judges and courts should only be called upon when other methods fail.

I think part of the problem is that when clients go to see their lawyers about an estate disagreement, they don't really come in with the mindset of finding out the options. In my experience, some (not all, of course) clients are fired up and angry, and all they really want to know about is how to use the legal system as a hammer to pound down the person on the other side. They don't want to hear about meeting where they'll all talk out the issues. Lawyers can tell clients a hundred times that they'd be better off in mediation, but in some cases, the clients want to cause all the trouble and aggravation they can for the other side. If only they realized they were doing it to themselves as well.

The attached photo of George Holmes is from


  1. Lynne....right on target.
    In my situation mediation was never brought up. As the Executor in my Estate case I certainly would have agreed to that. If an Executor has conducted himself/herself accordingly than there is little to worry about.
    I have learned a great deal since the beginning ie 2005 to the present. The system in Ontario is in need of an overhaul. Not just my words.
    My disappointment is more with the lawyers involved and the system. That to me is the real problem.

    1. I would like to see lawyers recommend mediation more often than they do. Even looking back on my own practice over the last 29 years, I don't think I recommended mediation as often as I could have. Part of it is that when clients come in, they ask "can I sue?". They don't ask, "what can I do to change the situation?" I find it easier now, with years of experience under my belt, to tell who would be interested in hearing the options, and to help clients get into that frame of mind. It's not easy to help people who are in a rage, and whose emotions are running at an all-time high :)


  2. Truthfully, in Ontario, every lawyer I hired over the 14 years trying to protect my mother from losing her home & my brother's theft of her properties, rights & its' income - never gave me any option but to sue my brother in court. My brother being a thief refused to co-operate in any way so mediation was never an option. What they should have told me was that no matter what, I must sue him, without my mother's approval. Terrorized by my brother's bullying she refused to take him to court. But if a lawyer had given me the option that I did not need her approval, because he is guilty of theft, and that had I done that 2008 when I discovered his theft, mom would still have her home, & the rest of the properties sold to get rid of him & pay off my father's heirs. And mom would be debt free with $500,000.00 in the bank. Instead, she winds up with nothing, and just enough money to cover court costs, legal fees, & will die never having had title to the matrimonial home. Mom is 96, so I made arrangements with the new owner she can remain in the house until she dies. Had any lawyer I saw seeking advise been more willing to sue, I would not be facing being in court the rest of my life.


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