Why Do I Need to Write a Letter of Instruction to Go with My Will?
Think of a letter of instruction as sort of a combination personal farewell note, to-do list and asset map. Depending on how close your relationship is with the person you've selected to be your personal representative, he or she may not know where to begin when the time comes to handle your estate. A letter of instruction lets you give your nominee the information needed to get a head start on the administration process, while keeping this personal information out of your will.
You decide which information would be helpful
Your letter of instruction can be as detailed or general as you want it to be, but you should consider disclosing information such as:
- Your burial and memorial preferences
- Location of your cemetery plot deed, if any
- Your assets and their respective locations
- A list of your debts
- Names and addresses of family members and their relationship to you
- Names of your banker, attorney, accountant and insurance agent
- Where to find your original will
- Location of safe deposit boxes and keys
- Location of important papers, such as titles, deeds, court judgments and any other paperwork affecting property ownership
As for what to do with your letter of instruction, you have several options. You can give the letter to your intended personal representative in a sealed envelope to be opened upon your death, or you could leave the letter of instruction in the same location as your will, to be discovered upon your death.
You can give your representative a chance to ask questions
Alternatively, you could give the letter of instruction to your intended personal representative and instruct your nominee to read the letter before you pass away. This gives your representative an opportunity to ask you questions, just in case parts of the letter are not clear.
Keep in mind that the majority of people who find themselves managing the estate of a loved one have never done so before. Your letter of instruction can be a comfort to your loved one — and a helping hand from beyond.
Get help preparing a letter of instruction for your personal representative by calling an experienced estate planning attorney at the Peterson Law Group. Our experienced Conroe, Texas attorneys help clients develop comprehensive end of life plans, including drafting wills and other documents. Call us at 936-337-4681 or 979-703-7014 or contact us online to arrange an appointment.