If you live in California, know that a will isn’t the only document you need to plan for your future. A letter of instruction can also be essential to your estate planning. Unlike a will, which is a legally binding document that determines the distribution of your assets after your death, a letter of instruction is a non-binding document that guides your loved ones about your wishes and preferences.
How a letter of instruction can help
Unfortunately, will and trust contests can be a common occurrence after someone passes away. Disputes may arise among family members, beneficiaries or other interested parties, leading to expensive and time-consuming legal battles.
A letter of instruction can prevent such contests by providing clear instructions and explanations of your decisions. For example, you can use a letter of instruction to explain why you chose certain beneficiaries, how you your assets should be divided and your final wishes.
Information to include in a letter of instruction
In addition to instructions related to your will and trust, a letter of instruction can include a wide range of other important information. For example, you can include details about your funeral or memorial service, your burial or cremation preferences and contact information for your attorney, accountant or other advisors. Use a letter of instruction to provide information about your insurance policies, bank accounts and other financial accounts.
A letter of instruction can be an invaluable tool for anyone who wants to plan for their future and ensure that their wishes are fulfilled after death. Creating a letter of instruction can provide guidance and clarity to your loved ones, avoid will and trust contests and ensure that your final wishes are respected.