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What is a letter of instruction?

On Behalf of | Nov 20, 2023 | Estate Planning |

Creating an estate plan is an important task for all adults. Whether you have a large estate or just a few assets to hand down, this plan becomes the roadmap for your loved ones to follow. 

While some people are familiar with things like wills, trusts and powers of attorney, there’s one component of this plan they might not be familiar with – the letter of instruction. 

What should you include in a letter of instruction?

The letter of instruction is a non-binding document that includes a host of information. This is a place where you can leave a list of accounts and the information to access them. You can discuss any sentimental items and how you’d like them distributed.  

Another component of the letter of instruction is your funeral plan. Because the will might not be read until after the funeral, you can include anything you want your loved ones to know about your funeral in the letter of instruction. 

Typically, the letter of instruction is read and reviewed shortly after your death. Your estate executor is the one who should have this letter. Other items in this letter, such as the location of safe deposit boxes and important documents, are valuable for the executor.

Even though the letter of instruction isn’t a legal document, it’s an important component of a comprehensive estate plan. Taking the time to review this when you create the estate plan can help to ensure you don’t miss anything. Just like other components, it should be reviewed regularly or when you have major changes in your life circumstances. 

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