A letter of instruction is a very useful estate planning tool, and one that many estate executors use as their primary roadmap. These letters do not have to meet any legal requirements, and because of this they allow you to create one with out your attorney’s involvement. However, as a general rule you should always make sure your letter of instruction includes specific types of information that will help your family and your estate administrator after you die.
How to proceed after your death
Your letter of instruction should contain detailed information about the kind of funeral you want, who should be notified about your death, whether you have any prearranged burial plots or funeral arrangements, who should act as your pallbearers, and any other specific information your family and executor can use immediately after you die.
How to find your property
You will also want to include specific details about your property, including both your assets and your debts. For example, you should include account numbers, access information, and payment details about any credit card accounts, bank accounts, life insurance policies, and loans.
How to distribute your property
Though much of your property will be distributed in accordance with the terms of your Last Will and Testament or other estate planning devices, your letter of instruction is often useful for making decisions about items that have little monetary value but which are highly desired as family memorabilia. You can use the letter to not only distribute personal property, but also provide personal messages to friends and family, a very useful way to avoid family conflicts after your death.