Assets play a major part in many New York residents’ lives. Because property can often become valuable for either monetary or sentimental reasons, it is common for people to have the desire to protect their assets and pass them on to loved ones in the event of their deaths. Estate planning can help make sure that the proper steps are taken to ensure that a deceased individual’s wishes are carried out.

If individuals want to use their plans to reduce the amount of potential conflict that could arise during probate, they may want to consider utilizing a letter of intent. This document goes beyond detailing who should receive which assets — that job goes to the will. A letter of intent allows a person to explain why he or she made certain choices, which can sometimes help surviving loved ones feel more at ease with the results of probate and other proceedings.

Another step that could help protect assets and hopefully reduce conflict is to remember to review and update an existing estate plan. Certain instructions and information may be relevant at the time the plan is initially created, but life is not stagnant. As a result, life changes could warrant changes to an estate plan to ensure that the correct information and intent is still reflected within the legal documents.

Estate planning is an ongoing process and can include as much information as individuals see fit. If New York residents are concerned about the possibility of conflict after their deaths or simply want to make their intentions as clear as possible, they may find it useful to explore the different legal options for doing so. Speaking with experienced attorneys could help interested parties determine what tools could work best for their plans.