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.
Consult your estate planning attorney for further information.