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A letter of instruction can complement an estate plan

On Behalf of | Jul 6, 2018 | Estate Planning

It is important for people in Richmond to have an air-tight estate plan. This may include having a will or trust (or both), power of attorney for health care, a living will, financial power of attorney and more. An estate plan can be complex. To help ensure loved ones fully understand one’s intentions for their estate plan, it may help to draft a letter of instruction. While this is not a legally-enforceable document, it can provide clarity.

This letter can include details on medical care, funeral preferences and the distribution of property that the will or other estate planning documents cannot contain. In the end, the plain language in a letter of instruction helps the individual selected to settle the estate know how to proceed.

A letter of instruction can cover many topics. It can list all a person’s assets and where these assets are located. It can include passwords and PIN numbers for various accounts. It can include the contact information of attorneys, bankers, accountants or other professionals.

If a person is to inherit a sentimental piece of property or family heirloom, this can be included in the letter of instruction. Even information regarding funeral details, like requesting charitable donations in lieu of flowers. But, these are not exhaustive, and these letters can cover other topics not listed.

A letter of instruction may not be a legal document, but it could serve as a roadmap for loved ones who must follow legally-binding documents, such as a will or a healthcare power of attorney. If a person has a complex estate, this can help ensure their wishes will be followed. And, after a person’s death, a letter of instruction can also relieve stress during what is a difficult time.