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What is a Letter of Intent?

If you’ve ever thought about estate planning before or even put together some of the key documents, you might still have questions about how to minimize the chances of an estate planning dispute after you pass away. 

One popular tool for addressing this issue is to put together a letter of intent. Along with your other estate planning tools, writing a letter of intent can help to reduce the chances that anyone in your family or estate administration process does not understand the purpose of the tools you’ve selected.

A letter of intent is a document left behind for your beneficiary or executor. The purpose of the letter is to clarify what you want to happen with a certain asset after you become incapacitated or pass away. Other letters of intent provide details about funerals or other special requests you might have about the management of your estate.

This document might not hold up as valid the way that a will or trust does, it can help to explain to a probate judge what your intentions are and this could help in the distribution of your assets if the will is determined to be invalid or if there are challenges regarding what’s inside the will.

If you are passing down various assets of different levels to your family members, a letter of intent could also be your opportunity to explain why you made the decisions that you did. Your letter of intent should always be written with the support of your estate planning lawyer.

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