GALE ALLISON, MEDIATOR

FAQs

First, be willing. All parties to the dispute must agree to mediate. Mediation only works when there is a “good faith” effort on everyone’s part to find mutually agreeable solutions. Mediation never works when there are “I win – you lose” attitudes. If everyone comes to the mediation conference willing to work toward a “win-win” resolution, then no matter how difficult or tense the disagreement, it is possible to settle amicably. Ms. Allison is experienced and very creative. She can use the flexibility of mediation to facilitate workable options not available in court. However, if one of the parties is unwilling to mediate in good faith, settlement is difficult to achieve. If the parties come, willing to communicate through Ms. Allison to arrive at a mutual agreement, they generally can. Your willingness also includes signing the final, written agreement and abiding by it, since it is like a contract.

Second, ask questions. If you do not understand something - a word, a concept, an instruction, a right, an option offered you, a charge on your bill - ask until you do understand. Even if you think that a question will be taken as "stupid" or "naïve" it will not. Ms. Allison is glad to answer your questions and rest assured, you are not the only one asking. You are paying for this opportunity, so ask. (If any mediator will not answer your questions, perhaps you need a new attorney.)

Third, listen. For mediation to succeed, Ms. Allison will bring solution options back and forth between the disagreeing parties. You will need to hear and consider them, rather than just supporting the positions you first brought to the table. In addition, you can listen to the advice of any expert resources brought to the mediation. You are the decision-makers mediating for yourselves. However, you can invite your attorney, financial advisor, CPA, accountant, health professional, social worker, business coach, or any wise and trusted professional you choose to give you advice. With advice from your independent resource person(s), you will have the information you require to make good decisions from among the settlement options Ms. Allison helps you generate. With their input and Ms. Allison’s help to communicate, not only can you determine the goals and priorities needed to achieve desired outcomes, but also you can make your settlement agreement to accomplish that.

Fourth, of course it helps if you make payments promptly. As mentioned above, feel free to question charges you do not understand. Is Gale Allison expensive? No more than someone of her depth of knowledge, experience, and credentials should be. Mediation in general costs a fraction of the money and time of a court procedure and Ms. Allison looks for additional ways to save your expense. Those ways include offering mediations by secure online methods, like Zoom, where possible. When you are able to mediate by secure video conferencing, there are no travel, meeting room, administrative, or food and beverage costs. She also doesn't just let a software program automate billing. When it's time to send bills, she reviews every invoice, removing items that should not be billed to you. She wants you to know what's on your bill and why, so you will know the value you receive. 

Fifth, tell the truth. The most effective thing you can do once you have engaged your mediator is to speak up and give details about everything relevant to the issue at hand.  Ms. Allison is experienced enough to know what questions to ask. Your information and ultimate agreement are completely confidential. If you don’t declare your wishes or provide full information, you cannot get the outcomes you desire. You will not be judged. Ms. Allison takes no sides and her only goal is for all parties to win, realistically. She is bound by laws that require her to keep anything you share with her confidential.

There are so many legal problems that can happen later when secrets rise up unexpectedly - and they do so, more often than not. Ms. Allison has the experience to know the likely outcomes of exposure and advise you on the best ways to preserve your agreement and your dignity. Tell her the truth.

Adopting these steps will assure that your goals for a lasting solution are met, we have a solid, professional, working relationship, and you get the best mediated settlement possible.

The mediation process with Gale Allison follows certain universal principals, but the way they occur depends on the issues of the mediation.

Pre-Mediation Summary: All mediations begin with a written summary of each party’s position, goals, and needs, as well as supporting documents. Parties submit these to Ms. Allison before the mediation conference, to give her time to know the situation and priorities of each party.

Welcome and Expectations: When the mediation conference begins, Ms. Allison welcomes all parties, explains the steps to mediation, and reinforces everyone’s role in the proceedings as well as the expectations of a mutually agreeable settlement.

Issues and Priorities: Ms. Allison works with the various parties to clarify their individual issues and priorities and assure that everyone agrees on the goals for the outcome.

Negotiations: Once the expectations are set, Ms. Allison moves between the parties taking offers and information back and forth, tweaking it, reforming it as needed, and bringing solution options to each party. As options narrow, Ms. Allison helps the parties refine them to create their own, custom-tailored solution.

Written Agreement: The agreement is set down in writing for each party to read and review, ask questions, get clarification, and then sign.

Signed Agreement: Each party receives a copy of the signed settlement agreement. Ms. Allison further assures confidentiality by destroying her records of the agreement.

These are the basic steps of facilitative mediation, the type of mediation that helps individuals create their own solutions with the communication expertise of a 3rd-party neutral.

Mediation can play out differently depending on the topic to mediate:

Video Conference Mediation

Most mediations can be done via video conference as long as the video platform is secure to protect confidentiality. A few examples are:

  • Divorce Mediation does not require face-to-face contact. Parties are in separate rooms (virtual “rooms”, if done on Zoom). Gale Allison moves back and forth carrying information and offers between them. If attorneys are advising, there is a third space for them to work together to advise their clients and do tasks like drafting the final settlement agreement.
  • Business Operations Mediation also does not require face-to-face negotiations. In today’s world most businesspeople are accustomed to carrying on business using technology. Again, if the parties have no interest in seeing one another, they can stay in their “rooms” and Ms. Allison will pop in and out taking offers and options back and forth.
  • Wills, Trusts, and Inheritance Mediations are quite suitable for video conferencing. It avoids family drama, keeps everything confidential and assures that people do not have to face each other in these emotional and stressful situations.
  • Transactional Mediations focus on an exchange of money for goods or services; particularly whether one party or the other found the exchange valuable. This does not require getting together in person.
  • Business Succession Mediation means disputes are over who inherits, has a buy/sell, or shares in how a business passes from one generation to the next. Like with Wills and Trusts Mediation, sometimes it is better when the parties are not in close proximity to one another.

In Person Mediation

  • Elder and Adult Care Mediation requires all parties including the caregiver(s) and the recipient(s) of care to be in the same physical place. Disputing parties may indeed have to face one another in order to assure the participation and the health and safety of the elderly person or adult with disabilities. This can be draining on people with certain conditions, and may require multiple days to complete the settlement agreement.
  • Estate Planning Mediation often requires face-to-face mediation, due to the personal impact on the lives of the people involved in the dispute and often, the frailty of one of more parties.

Choose any or all answers that suit your needs:

  1. Just plain Know-How: Gale Allison has a national certification to mediate litigated cases (lawsuits) from the prestigious, Pepperdine University, Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution. She is also certified by Pepperdine in the mediation of Elder Care issues, and has been certified by The Mediation Institute to mediate Family and Divorce cases. In addition, she has four decades of ongoing education, knowledge, wisdom and experience in handling matters of business as a founder, owner, and partner. As an attorney, she practiced strictly in the areas of probate, estate and trust administration, estate-related taxes, estate and business succession planning, and estate litigation or dispute mediation.
  2. Client Service Mission: Ms. Allison’s goal is Let’s Make Peace, and she means a real peace, not the false peace where everyone bites their tongues and seethes inside. Her every effort is to have disputants be heard and their positions and ideas considered. She is skilled in helping people communicate to find their mutual interests. She wants you to rest assured that your dispute will be handled with the highest quality regard for professionalism, confidentiality, accuracy, thoroughness, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness.
  3. Resourcefulness and Innovation: Her depth and breadth of professional and personal experience and knowledge means that Ms. Allison can help you create unique options for preserving your assets, resolving your issues, and perhaps, saving relationships and brands, along the way.

The relationship between you and your mediator is one of confidence and shared responsibility. You will like some things and might not like others because this is a winding path through the concerns and issues of all parties to the dispute. With Gale Allison between you though, you should expect:

  1. Mutual respect and professionalism
  2. Wisdom and insight in the specific area of your need or issue
  3. Explanations in terms and language you understand
  4. Prompt responses to your questions and concerns
  5. Meetings by appointment and Zoom (whichever is best suited for your topic of dispute)
  6. Accommodation of your ability or preference for tools and technology
  7. An objective, facilitative approach to communicating through the emotional and practical issues of your dispute.
  8. To be heard; to have each party’s perspectives and goals considered.
  9. Confidentiality. We keep your information (and secrets) securely guarded.
  10. A written, final settlement agreement that holds up, if one or more parties do not comply with its terms.

Ms. Allison believes there is too much strife in this world and that mediation is a way to bring peace to most personal and business disputes. She hopes you will join her in her invitation to Let’s Make Peace as a real and satisfying solution.

First, listen. Never assume you know exactly what estate plan you need, or that you know all about Wills, Trusts, and Estate matters. Books, movies and TV shows do not give you the entire story about what happens when someone dies or becomes incapacitated. In fact, they often tell tales for dramatic effect. Then, when the audience reacts, that encourages writers, directors, and producers (and advertisers) to perpetuate the misinformation. Aside from drama-mongering, there is always something new happening in the laws governing estates and inheritances. Your attorney is required by law to keep up to date on changes. Ms. Allison's years of experience and knowledge give her the ability to create estate plans that meet your unique needs and goals, so hear her advice.

Second, ask questions. If you do not understand something - a word, a concept, an instruction in your trust, a provision in your will, a power of attorney right, an option offered you, a law, a charge on your bill - ask until you do understand. Even if you think a question will be taken as "stupid" or "naïve" it will not. Ms. Allison is glad to answer your questions and rest assured, you are not the only one asking. You are paying for this opportunity, so ask. (If any attorney will not answer your questions, perhaps you need a new attorney.)

Third, follow the advice your estate attorney gives you. The job of an estate attorney is to 1) counsel you on the best way to accomplish your estate and end of life goals, and 2) help you execute the legal documents to make your plan work once you become incapacitated, or die. It is unwise pay for the advice and not use it. Ms. Allison takes the term Counselor at Law very seriously. She not only makes your estate plan, but also advises you on all the steps you need to take to set things up properly to achieve the outcomes you desire. 

Fourth, of course it helps if you make payments promptly. As mentioned above, feel free to question charges you do not understand. Is Gale Allison expensive? No more than someone of her depth of knowledge, experience, and credentials should be. So she looks for ways to save your costs by using law clerks, paralegals, and legal secretaries for work they are qualified to do at more cost-efficient rates for you. Ms. Allison's team painstakingly documents their individual activities done on your behalf. They are not paid until they do. She also doesn't just let a software program automate the charges. When it's time to send out bills, she reviews all items by each worker on every invoice. She removes items that should not be billed to you. She wants you to know what's on your bill and why, so you will know the value you receive form her firm. 

Fifth,tell the truth. The most effective thing you can do once you have engaged your estate lawyer is to give details about every single thing you own and every relationship you have. Even the things and people you want to keep secret from others can cause you legal, financial, and tax problems if you don't. Your attorney is bound by laws that require her to keep confidential anything you share with her.

We are not kidding about this. Why?

  • If you forgot you owned some property and later find out about it, immediately tell your lawyer so she can make sure you avoid tax and titling liabilities, or become ineligible for something else due to owning the asset.
  • If you sowed your wild oats and might have a child somewhere, or even if you are not sure - tell your lawyer, so she can take steps to either provide what you want to provide for that [possible] child or prevent claims against you, or your estate. 
  • If you gave up a child for adoption and your family doesn't know, your attorney must be told in order to plan for what you want to occur should that child contact you or make a claim on your estate.
  • If you have criminal charges, clandestine relationships, other identities, hidden or offshore accounts, undisclosed businesses/revenue streams, or any other secrets... your attorney cannot safeguard you if she is unaware of things and people that do affect your assets or your beneficiaries' inheritances.

There are so many legal problems that can happen when secrets rise up unexpectedly - and they do so, more often than not. Ms. Allison has the experience to know the likely outcomes of exposure and advise you on the best ways to preserve both your assets and your dignity. Tell her the truth.

Finally, update your estate plan each time you have a major life change. Births, adoptions, deaths, incapacities, buying or selling big items, marriages divorces, business partnerships... big changes like these do affect your estate plan and its likely outcomes. Update your plan at least every 5 years or when one of the events listed occurs.

Adopting these steps will assure that we have a solid, professional, working relationship and you get the best estate plan possible from us that meets your goals.

The answer is both simple and complex. Simply, your estate is everything you own in your name (real property and personal property). Your estate also includes certain personal decisions and choices about managing your responsibilities if you die or become temporarily or permanently incapacitated. If what you own includes a business, your estate includes that as well.
The complexities of your estate span managing your tax liabilities, who makes decisions---or leads your business, or cares for your dependents---when you cannot, and which of the myriad of tools available will work best to accomplish your final wishes.
Most simply put, your estate is you, your personal and business choices, and your stuff.
There are parts of an estate plan that are not about money or possessions. These include giving your permission to manage certain aspects of your person or estate if you cannot manage for yourself. You give those permissions through legal documents which are in effect while you are still living. They include:

 

1) Advance Directive (Living Will) - If you become terminally ill or incapacitated, this document informs people whether or not you want to be kept alive by articificial means and who will speak in your behalf.
2) Powers of Attorney (Health, Finance) - Your choice of an agent (Attorney In Fact)) who you want to make your health care or financial decisions, if, while you are alive, you become temporarily or permanantly unable to do so on your own.
3) HIPAA Release - Your permission for various professionals (health, financial, educational, etc.) to share your personal, confidential information with the people you have designated to handle your affairs when/if you can't---so that your agents can make informed decisions.
4) Guardianship - For anyone with dependents (minor children, people with disabilities, elders), the person/people you nominate to becme the designated caretaker(s) for those dependents if you should die or become incapacitated.

 

Once these things are in place, you can start to decide whether you need wills, trusts and/or other documents to pay your final bills and taxes before distributing what is left to your heirs after you pass away. Once you reach the age of 18, everyone needs an estate plan! If you don't make one, your state's laws and the courts will determine what to do with your life as well as your stuff.
Where do we start?
  • A will or trust or whatever tool you download) may not be the best option for your situation.
  • Your situation and estate laws change over time and your template form does not.
  • There are no One-Size-Fits-All inheritance laws---every state has different rules and a generic form cannot possibly address those differences.
  • Using the wrong tool for the job means that you probably won't get the result you want.
  • A will or trust may not be enough to deal with all of your final wshes.
  • Tax liabilities, accidentally omiting a beneficiary, filing the worng document, missing deadlines, invalidating the document you are trying to make, getting sued, and so many other problems can be caused because of little errors made without understanding the consequences.
These are just a few reasons you should have a skilled estate lawyer helping you through probate, estate or trust administration, estate-related tax issues , estate or business succession planning, or estate disputes (in or out of court). Over the long run, an experienced estate attorney actually saves you money, time, stress and relationships.
Choose any or all answers that suit your needs:

 

1. Subject Matter Know-How: We have four decades of ongoing education, knowledge, wisdom and experience in handling matters of probate, estate and trust administration, estate-related taxes, estate and business succession planning, and estate litigation or dispute mediation.

 

2. Client Service Mission: We want you to rest assured that your estate needs are handled with the highest quality regard for confidentiality, accuracy, thoroughness, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness.

 

3. Team Resourcefulness and Innovation: Our depth and breadth of team experience and knowledge means we can offer unique options for preserving your assets and transfering your estate to your heirs in ways that control tax, debt and loss liabilities.
Sometimes. Here's how the Gale Allison team does free consults:

To make or update estate, tax, charitable giving or business succession plans:
You may make an appointment for a 30-minute in-person attorney consult at no cost if:
  • 1) You, and whoever else is to be involved in the estate or other planning consultation, have recently attended one of our monthly, free seminars, and
  • 2) You complete our Confidential Questionnaire
There are no exceptions. Laws, tools and techniques governing estates change often. Attending the seminar and providing us with your personal information applicable to your planning enable us to advise you about your goals and possibly to quote you a probable fee for accomplishing them.
 

 

For probate, estate administration, estate or fuiducary income taxes, estate disputes, and any non-estate planning matters:
You can make an appointment for a brief telephone conference to discuss your legal concern at no charge. This 15-minute call enables us to determine if your case is one that we have the time and resources to handle effectively, and answer simple questions.

Answers to public and general information questions about estate matters is available on several of our web pages through links to explanations and resources.

 

To register for and attend a free seminar to get your estate planning consultation, call 918-900-3005 for reservations, or check our website for free general education about estate matters.
Our team of professionals, paraprofessionals,and administrative assistants comprises the "secret sauce" that controls your attorney costs.

 

Naturally, Gale Allison's fees - like those of other attorneys of her caliber - are higher due to her far greater education and decades of experience. But, even a new attorney charges $150+/hour. When you pay that lawyer's hourly rate to do everything your case requires (research, drafting documents, reviewing plans and documents with you, notarizing signatures, filing documents at the courthouse, etc.) you will pay $150+/hour for every hour of work which could have been done at lower hourly rates. With the Gale Allison team you pay attorney hourly rates for analysis of your situation, clarification of your goals and strategic advice for how to get you there. But then...

 

Under that attorney's supervision, research, document drafts, revisions, reviews, correspondence, filings and so many more tasks are done at the hourly rates of legal assistants, paralegals and law clerks to save you money. Your effective hourly rate at Gale Allison, PLLC, is often half of what you'd pay a lawyer who "does it all."
The relationship between you and your estate lawyer is one of confidence and shared responsibility. You will like some things and might not like others because this is a two-way street. With Gale Allison's team on your side, you should expect:
  1. Mutual respect and professionalism
  2. Wisdom and insight in the specific area of your estate need or issue
  3. Explanations in terms and language you understand
  4. Prompt responses to your questions and concerns
  5. Meetings by appointment (so we can be prepared for and focused on you)
  6. Infrequent schedule changes
  7. Fewer papers (because we are a paperless practice,securing your information digitally and saving natural and human resources and time)
  8. Accommodation of your ability or preference for tools and technology
  9. An objective approach to the emotional issues of estate work and problem solving
  10. To share all information about your assets and relationships (because we can't plan for what we don't know about and secrets usually cause costly problems that could have been avoided).
  11. Confidentiality. We keep your information (and secrets) securely guarded.
  12. Resourceful use of our team of professionals and paraprofessionals to reduce your hourly costs.

 

Our clients are our reason for being. We hope you will enjoy working with the Gale Allison team and will feel free to let us know how we can serve you better.