What is a letter of instruction?

However simple or complex your estate plan is, there is one document that it should always include. This is a letter of instruction.

This document is relatively straightforward to write, but it can be a massive help in simplifying things for your loved ones after you pass away.

Here are some of the things you can set out in it:

What sort of funeral you would like

Your family might have grandiose plans for your send-off when all you want is a quiet get-together of friends. You can stipulate music, venue, dress code and atmosphere, as well as wishes concerning burial, cremation, scattering of ashes and more. Letters of instruction are not legally binding, so your family could still ignore your wishes, but it makes it less likely they do.

Tasks to carry out

If you go away for a month, you’d likely leave a to-do list for someone. It’s even more important when you’re going away for good. Things like when and how to pay the mortgage and household bills, how to renew or cancel subscriptions and so on can save your family from wasting time searching and help them to carry on without you as smoothly as possible.

Asset locations and sign-in details

You’d don’t want your family losing out on money in accounts they don’t know exist or can’t access. You can guide them on how to find and even perhaps access such things.

Essential contacts

If you work with particular legal or financial professionals, you might want them to help your family handle things when you die. That will be easier if your family or executor knows how to contact them, so consider including their details in the letter too. There’s a lot to consider when estate planning. Get legal help to ensure you cover everything.

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