“What is a Letter of Instruction?” by Attorney Jim O’Brien (Audio)
The time immediately following the death of a loved one can be stressful and overwhelming. Family members are grieving, and on top of this, they must handle a variety of organizational and legal tasks. Fortunately, you can minimize many of these complications ahead of time by creating a letter of instruction.
A letter of instruction is an estate planning document that provides basic information to guide and assist those who must distribute your assets and manage your estate after you pass. So what are some things you should include in a letter of instruction?
The first thing is information about your financial affairs. Although you likely know your financial information, such as which banks you have accounts with and how to access them, your loved ones may not. If you don’t provide this information, it can add a lot of unnecessary administrative work to your loved ones’ plates and cause delays in the distribution of your estate.
If you have preferences about your burial or funeral, such as where you would like to be laid to rest, or how much you would like to spend on your wake, include them in your letter of instruction. Making your wishes known will help your loved ones understand what you want and execute your preferences to the best of their abilities. If you’ve already paid for a service or package at a funeral home, make sure you include as much information as possible including the name and address of the funeral home, your receipt, and where your burial plot is located.
A letter of instruction provides a helpful guide for those who will have to settle your affairs after you are gone. To learn more about how a letter of instruction can complement your other estate planning documents, reach out to the attorneys at Sinclair Prosser Gasior to review or create your estate plan today.
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