Why include a letter of intent in your estate plan?

On Behalf of | Feb 7, 2024 | Estate Planning

Putting in place a well-thought-out estate plan is crucial to ensuring the proper handling of your estate and affairs after your passing. Including a letter of intent can be a valuable addition to your estate plan.

A letter of intent, though not legally binding, can provide useful insights, making the estate administration process smoother and more effective. The following are five considerations worth contemplating when crafting a letter of intent for your estate plan.

Personal belongings

Oftentimes, disputes arise over sentimental or personal belongings within a family. A letter of intent allows you to specify who should receive specific items, such as family heirlooms, jewelry or other sentimental possessions. This can prevent disagreements and ensure that your personal belongings are distributed according to your wishes.

Financial details

Using a letter of intent, you can indicate your financial details and provide guidance on how you want your assets managed. While a will typically outlines the distribution of your assets, a letter of intent can offer more detailed information about your financial accounts, investments, debts and any other financial considerations.

Special considerations for beneficiaries

If you have beneficiaries with special needs, such as dependents with disabilities, a letter of intent can be a crucial document. You can use it to provide specific instructions on how you want these beneficiaries to be cared for, outlining their unique needs, routines, medical requirements and any other relevant information.

Funeral wishes

We all have different views and preferences when it comes to funeral arrangements. Including your funeral wishes in a letter of intent can be a thoughtful way to express your desires and guide your loved ones during a challenging time. This document can detail your preferences regarding burial or cremation, choice of funeral service, location and any specific rituals or ceremonies you would like to be included.

Unfinished business

Including information about any unfinished business or ongoing projects in your letter of intent can be helpful for your executor and loved ones. This may include details about business partnerships, legal matters or any other significant projects you’re involved in. Providing clarity on these matters can facilitate a smoother transition and help your executor address any pending issues appropriately.

It’s important to note that a letter of intent is not a substitute for a legally valid will or other estate planning documents. By seeking legal guidance, you will be able to create a wholesome letter of intent that won’t clash with your formal estate planning.