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Don’t forget a letter of instruction when estate planning

| Jul 14, 2020 | Estate Planning |

Imagine this. In a few years from now, you pass away unexpectedly. Your spouse is consumed by grief, your children inconsolable. All any of them want to do is lock themselves in the house and cry. Yet they cannot, for there are essential tasks to be done, such as arranging your funeral and paying the bills. The problem is no one knows what kind of funeral you would have wanted or how to access the family funds in order to pay the bills. If you had left a letter of instruction, you could have made life easier for your loved ones.

What is a letter of instruction?

A letter of instruction is a simple letter designed to help your family and the executor of your estate know what to do when you die. It is not a legal document, but a friendly note to help them once you can no longer do so.

Where should you keep a letter of instruction?

There is no point in creating a set of instructions if no one can ever find them. However, you do not want just anyone to find them. A safe in the house or a safety deposit box at your local bank are sensible places to put this sensitive information. Make sure someone such as your spouse or executor knows where it is.

What should you put in a letter of instruction?

What you put in the letter is up to you, but here are some things to consider:

  • Notes on funeral arrangements
  • Details of how to access your passwords
  • Locations of the various assets you own
  • Details on any loans or bills that need dealing with
  • Contact details of people they might need to contact

Taking the time to write a letter of instruction is something your family will thank you for. It will ease their life at one of the most challenging times.

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