Switch to ADA Accessible Theme Close Menu
Torrance Estate Planning & Probate Lawyer
Call Today For A Consultation 310-755-0383
Torrance Estate Planning & Probate > Blog > Wills > Don’t Forget That Letter Of Last Instruction

Don’t Forget That Letter Of Last Instruction


Most of the documents that you will draft when creating your estate plan, will leave your assets or property to beneficiaries. But there is one document that isn’t for that purpose, but which is no less important than everything else in your estate plan. It’s called a letter of last instruction.

Think of the letter of last instruction as an instruction manual for your beneficiaries. It will give them the information they need, to make sure that the wishes you state in your other estate documents, can be carried out.

Basic Information

For example, the letter may contain passwords that may be needed to access accounts, including loan or account numbers, to make sure that bills that need to get paid, continue to get paid. It may list relatives or friends or business associates that you want notified of your passing, but who your immediate relatives or your spouse may not know about.

It also may include your own personal information; don’t assume that your surviving relatives know your social security number, or where you were born, or your maiden name.

Location of Information

If you have a business, it may have instructions on how to access business property or information. It can tell relatives where important documents are stored, or what professionals may have those documents.

Dependents and Pets

The letter can have information related to the immediate care of loved ones, such as if you have a child that takes and needs to continue taking a certain medicine, or a pet that needs a certain kind of care. For either humans or animals, the letter can have immediate instructions on caretakers—where do young children or animals go, in the short term, to be fed, sheltered, and cared for, until a permanent solution is put into place?

Avoiding Challenges

While the letter can’t by itself leave any property to anybody, it can give an explanation for what you did in your will or trust—that is, tell the world why you left what you did, to who you did.

In cases where someone was left out of a will or trust, and where you have concern that they may challenge the will or trust, the letter can clarify that the decisions you made, were made rationally, with sound mind, and without outside influence, thus lowering the chance that anybody left out of your estate documents, will challenge your estate in probate court.

Funeral Arrangements

If you have preferences about your funeral, you can leave them here as well, as detailed as you like. They can include location, music, choice of clothing, and other decisions, should you have a preference.

Obviously, the letter is of no value, if nobody can find it—make sure that a loved one, or your estate attorney, has the letter and knows where it is, for immediate access if needed.

Is your estate plan complete and thorough? We can check that for you and make sure that it is. Call the Torrance will and estate attorneys at Samuel Ford Law today.



Facebook Twitter LinkedIn