Protecting Estates.
Protecting Legacies.

Four reasons to include a letter of instruction with a will

When you plan your estate, you will likely create a will to outline how to distribute your assets following your death. However, a will alone may not fully express your wishes and preferences. Also, there is the chance your family might not understand all of your decisions.

This problem is why some testators also write a letter of instruction to include with a will. Also known as a letter of intent, this document is not a legally binding work, but it can provide valuable additional guidance to those responsible for executing your will.

Clarify your wishes

A letter of instruction allows you to provide context regarding your desires and preferences. You can include details about the location of important documents, account information, passwords, as well as contact information for your financial advisors or other relevant parties. By having this information readily available, the executor of your will can more easily navigate and manage your estate.

Communicate personal messages

With a letter of instruction, you have the opportunity to write out personal messages and sentiments. You can express your values, share memories or provide guidance to your loved ones. This can be particularly meaningful for sentimental possessions or heirlooms that hold special significance for your family.

Offer informal instructions

People also use a letter of instruction to provide informal instructions or preferences that may not be appropriate or enforceable within the confines of a will. For example, you may express your preferences for funeral arrangements, charities for donations, or wishes regarding your pets. These instructions are not legally binding but can serve as guidance for the executor of your will.

Ease of updates

A letter of instruction is a flexible document that you can easily update as your circumstances change. Unlike a will, which may require formal procedures for modifications, you can revise or amend your letter of instruction without legal formalities. This allows you to keep the information current and relevant.

By creating a letter of instruction alongside your will, you help ensure clear communication of your wishes, plus your loved ones have the necessary guidance to navigate the estate settlement process without delays or legal contests.

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