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Portland Area Law Blog

Alternative dispute resolution vs. litigation

When dealing with a legal matter in the state of Oregon, figuring out the best way to resolve the issue can be difficult. Should one go to court, or should one consider an alternative dispute resolution method? There are pros and cons to both of those options. This week's column will discuss the advantage and disadvantages of both ADR and litigation.

When it comes to ADR, there are two methods that are most often used: mediation and arbitration. Mediation is where all involved parties agree to meet and negotiate a resolution to the problem with a mediator present. Arbitration, on the other hand, is where all parties present their case to one or more arbitrators, who then get to decide how the matter should be resolved. Both of these methods tend to take less time than going to trial, grant greater privacy for all involved and cost less than traditional litigation.

3 Signs of fiduciary wrongdoing in estate administration

Executors of an estate have a responsibility to fulfill their fiduciary duties, meaning they must follow through with the estate administration tasks required of them in a legal and ethical manner. While serving as an executor can be stressful, people who are experienced and trustworthy often perform the job diligently and successfully.

However, some executors breach their fiduciary duty, which can have serious consequences for everyone involved in the administration process. The signs of fiduciary wrongdoing can be subtle, but if you know where to look, you can hold the executor responsible for their actions.

Is your succession plan ready?

You spend your life building your business, marketing your brand and making a name for yourself in the Oregon business world. You work hard, and you want your business and your legacy to live on well after you retire and move to the next phase of your life, or even after your death. Do you have a succession plan in place to make sure this happens?

Many business owners have not taken the time to put together succession plans. They may talk about what they want to have happen following retirement or death, but nothing concrete is put in place. Some don't talk about it at all.

The Stuart Scott estate litigation case on hold

Stuart Scott, the beloved ESPN anchor, died in early 2015 after losing his battle with cancer. Ever since his death, his ex-wife, his daughters and Disney have been fighting about the handling of his estate. Nearly five years into this legal battle, estate litigation in this case has been put on hold over fears that continuing on this path will leave his daughters with nothing. This case is eye-opening in many ways and a good example of what can happen if fights over estate administration, whether it occurs in Oregon or elsewhere, is allowed to drag on.

According to reports, Scott placed his assets in a trust with instructions to make scheduled payouts to his daughters. His beneficiaries are claiming that the co-trustees have failed in their duty to administer the trust according to the terms set by their father and have been taking money for themselves. As such, Scott's daughters have filed lawsuits against the co-trustees.

Thinking about selling your business?

There is a point in a business owner's life when he or she may consider walking away from the company. Some may choose to close up shop, while others may look at selling. Those in Oregon who are thinking about selling their businesses may find the process far more complicated and involved that they thought it would be. Thankfully, this is not something one has to do alone.

There are several reasons why one might want to sell. No matter what one's "why" is, when and how one goes about it matters. Many experts would agree that trying to sell when the economy is in a good place is ideal.

Legal counsel can help when utilizing ADR methods

When dealing with a legal issue, wanting to keep the matter out of court is understandable. Most people want to avoid litigation if they can. Alternative dispute resolution methods do exist and can be the best course of action. Not only can utilizing ADR methods prevent litigation, they can also save Oregon residents time and money if gone about the right way.

Yes, it is possible to mess up negotiations in mediation, and it is certainly possible to poorly present one's case before an arbitrator. When utilizing either of these ADR methods, it is possible to have legal counsel prepared and ready to assist when needed. The key is finding an attorney who has experience with ADR methods and can use them appropriately.

Oregon real estate law: In a boundary dispute with a neighbor?

Getting along with neighbors is not always the easiest of things to do. This is particularly true when in the midst of a boundary dispute. With the assistance of an Oregon-based real estate law attorney, this type of issue can be settled as swiftly as possible so that all parties involved can move on.

There are several reasons that boundary disputes occur. They all come back to one thing, though, which is the unauthorized use of property. Some property disputes can be resolved by looking at property surveys, and some require a bit more than that.

Stepparent actions can lead to estate litigation

With the high level of divorces that occur in the United States every year, numerous people in Oregon and elsewhere end up getting remarried and have to work on blending their families. Sometimes this is easier said than done. When it comes to the death of a parent, there can be big problems between stepparents and stepchildren during the estate administration process, to the point where estate litigation may be unavoidable.

Recently, a concerned individual sought advice about a problem he or she had with his or her stepmother. This person claims that a will was left behind by his or her father, but the will was never seen during the administration of his estate. There was an understanding that he wanted to ensure his wife was taken care of, so she remained in the home they shared up until her death. After she died, the house, instead of being bequeathed to his children, went to her daughter. Now this individual and his or her siblings want to know what they can do to get the inheritance they are confident their father intended to give them.

3 Important steps to take as a successor trustee

Managing a settlor’s trust once they have passed is a big responsibility. Chances are, the settlor has already worked with you and prepared you for this role. Still, it can be an overwhelming process once the trust enters the administration phase. Here are three important steps you should immediately take as a successor trustee.

 

Has one of your employees been accused of harassment?

Not much is easy about being a business owner in Oregon. You certainly have a lot to worry about. One thing you hope you never have to deal with is complaints of harassment at your establishment. After all, you've done what you can to make your business a good place to work. Unfortunately, as you know, you cannot control all of your employees' actions, and you've recently found out that one of your employees has been accused of harassment, which has left you in a tough position.

The actions you take after receiving a harassment complaint can hurt you and your company if you are not careful. Federal law prohibits harassment in the workplace. When such accusations are made, it is an employer's job to investigate and take action. Unfortunately, no matter what you do, you may be accused of not doing enough, failing to protect the victim, or going too far -- wrongfully terminating the accused. It is impossible to please everyone, and lawsuits may result.

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