The thought of preparing a will is daunting. Generally, people prefer not to contemplate their own mortality, let alone divvy up property to the heirs they will potentially leave behind. However, the presence of a New York estate plan may help guide loved ones and avoid family discord.

The primary goal of an estate plan is to ensure that one’s wishes are respected. For some this means providing each child with an equal inheritance, for others it may mean one child gets the family home, the other receives money in certain bank accounts and the remaining assets are donated to charity. However assets are split, a New York Times article argues that one may avoid family discord by openly discussing these decisions with potential heirs.

This concept was illustrated by a recent funeral in Detroit. Detroit News reported a family argument over burial arrangements between the deceased’s siblings and estranged wife. The siblings said he wished to use a mausoleum as opposed to casket burial. His estranged wife, however, felt he would prefer a more traditional burial. As a result, she removed the body from a temporary mausoleum and held an interment. The siblings and estranged wife continue to quarrel over which option was most in line with his wishes.

In addition to potentially avoiding family strife, an estate plan can also use various tools to reduce the amount of taxes owed at death.

These are just a few of the possible benefits an estate plan can provide. In order to develop an estate plan that best reflects your wishes, it is important to discuss all the options available with an experienced estate planning attorney.