How to Write a Letter of Instruction For Your Heirs

Writing on a paper

You have taken the necessary steps to create an updated Estate Plan for your heirs and beneficiaries, but there is a lot of information they will need to know that is not necessarily included in a Will or Trust.  An easy solution is to write a letter of instruction to complement your Will, which can provide your heirs with guidance and spare them time and aggravation if you die or become incapacitated.

A letter of instruction is an informal, cost-free personal document, which is not legally binding but it supplements your Will with important information.

Here are ten tips on how to write a letter of instruction to your heirs:

  1. Specify location of important Documents such as your Will, Insurance documents, Deed, financial statements, and birth certificate.
  2. Specify the location and approximate value of important assets such as bank accounts, investments, and insurance policies.
  3. Name and phone numbers of professionals such as attorney, financial advisor, accountant, and insurance agent.
  4. Passwords and Pin numbers for online accounts, including credit cards.
  5. Leave phone numbers to banks that may hold safety deposit boxes for you.
  6. Instructions on how you want sentimental objects to be given out.
  7. List of people and organizations that should be notified in the event of death.
  8. Pre-paid Funeral arrangements or instructions for funeral wishes.
  9. A personal note to family members. Give your heirs a personal message by telling them any last thoughts or hopes you have for their future.
  10. Make copies of the letter for your attorney, executor, and leave one at your home, making it easy for your beneficiaries to access.

Once created, be sure you review and update your letter once a year to reflect any changes.

Questions regarding your Will or other Estate Planning documents, contact Charles Bratton at Bratton Law. 856-857-6007.