Alternative dispute resolution

1. Lisa (86), the mother of Steven (44) and Andrea (51), died six months ago. She was a widow, and in
her will named Steven and Andrea as joint executors and left her estate to be equally divided between
2. Lisa also had another son, Richard (54). He had left home when he was only eighteen years old after
a long period of argument and hostile relationship with his father, and had not been in contact with the
family since then. Lisa, Steven and Andrew had eventually concluded that Richard must have died.
3. Lisa’s estate consisted of the home in which she had lived, which was valued at $540,000, together
with furniture and personal items valued at $72,000, and investments and funds in the bank totally
4. Andrea had never married, and lived with her mother, caring for her during the last four years of her
life when she was an invalid. Andrea insists that she is entitled to the house and at least $40,000 to
compensate her for the time she was a full-time carer for her mother.
5. Steven is married, has a substantial mortgage and a large business debt, and is trying to support his
four children who are attending university. He insists he is entitled to half the estate, and that the house
must be sold and the proceeds shared between him and Andrea.
6. Three weeks after Lisa’s funeral, Richard visited Andrea. He had spent much of his life suffering
from alcohol dependence, and had rarely been employed for more than short periods. Richard claims
that the problems he has experienced throughout his life derived from his childhood, and the treatment
he received from his mother and father. He insists that he is entitled to at least one third of his mother’s
estate in compensation for his lifetime of suffering.
7. Richard claims he has consulted a solicitor who is prepared to represent him without charge in an
action to obtain his fair share of the estate.
8. Steven now says that his mother’s house and property should be sold, and that the three children
should divide the estate equally.

After reading the Case Study above:

Compile a list of as many options as you can identify for the resolution of the disputes
in this case, and identify the relative advantages/benefits and disadvantages/costs of
each. Note that you are required to identify options (for example, share the estate
equally) not processes (for example, mediation). You should include options that you
consider unrealistic or impractical, as well as those you might recommend. You may
use a table for this exercise if you wish.

The sources we can use are :
Gregory Tillett and Brendan French
Resolving Conflict
4th revised and enlarged edition
Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 2009.


Alternative Dispute Resolution Workbook: 2011 Copyright © 2010 Gregory Tillett & Brendan French 1


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