There is a lot of information your heirs should know which does not necessarily fit into a Will, Trust or other component of an estate plan. The solution is a Letter of Instruction which can provide your heirs with guidance if you die or become incapacitated.
A Letter of Instruction is a legally non-binding document that gives your heirs information crucial to helping them tie up your affairs. Without such a letter, heirs can miss important items.
The following are some items which can be included in a letter:
- A list of people to contact when you die and a list of beneficiaries of your estate plan
- The location of important documents such as your Will, insurance policies, financial statements, deeds and birth certificates
- A list of assets such as bank accounts, investment accounts, insurance policies, real estate holdings and military benefits
- Passwords and PINs (personal identification numbers) for online accounts
- The location of safe deposit boxes
- A list of contact information for lawyers, financial planners, brokers, tax preparers and insurance agents
- A list of credit card accounts and other debts
- Instructions for funeral or memorial service
- Instructions for distribution of sentimental personal items
Once the letter is written, store it in an easily accessible place and tell trusted family members about it.