Mediation and Estate Planning Blog

Death in the Family and Moving Out: How Can Mediation Help?

At MPSV we routinely receive telephone calls from family members about a situation in their family that is causing distress and for which they are unable to find a solution. Our next 4 newsletters will be dedicated to sharing with you a series of situations based on the most recurring phone calls we receive and our reply.

Situation #1: Bob moved in with our Mom to take care of her. Mom recently died and Bob won't move out so the house cannot be sold.

This is a fairly common family situation that we encounter. We sometimes have to deal with someone who simply does not want to move, but in reality, we primarily run into people who understand that there has been a change of circumstances brought on by the death of their parent but who are lacking the ability to come to terms with the death of their loved one and/ or are unable of making decisions about how to move, where to go..... In a nutshell, they are not unwilling— they are incapable to handle the situation on their own.

In Bob's example, we would usually begin by talking to Bob to assess his needs. In other words we will try to find out what he wants to happen and how we can help him achieve his goals. We would start by very basic questions: where would he like to live? How much can he afford to pay ? How many bedrooms would he like? Do you want a garage or workspace? Do you have enough money to pay for the move?

Once we have had this conversation with Bob and started the discussion about his future, we then have a meeting with Bob and the family. We will give to the family members some perspective on why Bob had made many promises to move out but never did it.

Once the family members understand what is going on with Bob, the family as a whole, including Bob, will identify what Bob's first step should be in order for him to move out of the property.

1. It could be to help Bob find a place to move to. Someone in the family can accompany Bob in looking at the places that are available and the family can help Bob decide on which one he would like to move to;

2. This may be helping Bob financially by paying the first and last month's rent and cleaning deposit. Perhaps the estate can make a preliminary distribution of Bob's share of the estate for the purpose of securing a new place for Bob which will allow the family home to be sold.

With everyone in family working together, a suitable alternate home can be found for Bob and the financial resources can be made available for his move to occur. What matters, is that your family works with mediators that are able to cut through the emotions ( resentment, anger, jealousy, grief...), get to the facts, make each party understand why the other siblings are behaving in a certain way and help the family members design their own resolution to their conflict resulting in a solution that can benefit everyone. In our example, once Bob moves out of the property, the house can be sold which will benefit everyone.

Give us a call so we can discuss how we can help your family.

Sophia Delacotte