Last Will and Testament Letter Of Instructions
In addition to your Will, there is another less formal document that you should consider drafting, that is, a letter of instructions. Its purpose is to provide the Executor of the estate and beneficiaries some additional and more personal information regarding your estate. The letter should include the following information:
- A statement as to the location of the Will.
- Burial instructions, name of cemetery and location of plot, information regarding the location of the cemetery plot deed. If it is your desire to be cremated, include instructions as to the care and place or disbursement of the ashes. If you are a veteran, you may wish to take advantage of the opportunity to be buried in a national cemetery.
- A list, including the address of all the people who should be notified of your death and the family relationship of these people. This will be helpful also in probating the Will because the Court will usually require a listing of all immediate family members.
- The location of all important legal documents, including Social Security and Medicare cards, title papers to automobile, deeds to real property, armed services discharge papers, marriage and/or divorce papers, copies of separation or settlement agreements, birth certificate or baptismal certificate and any other papers of a legal nature.
- Whether you are a member of any society or lodge which has a part of its membership some death benefit or insurance coverage at the death of a member, and any information regarding the procedure for collecting this benefit and the location of the certificate of insurance.
- The location and listing of all life insurance policies, including the name of the company, policy number, beneficiary designation and the amount of coverage. This list should also include any policies and their location regarding casualty and homeowner's insurance and also insurance polices on which you have been paying premiums but are insuring other members of the family.
- The name of the bank and account number of all savings and checking accounts in your name individually or in your name with another jointly. Also information concerning the location of all checking accounts and passbooks or certificates of deposit.
- A list of all U. S. Savings Bonds, in whose name they are registered, also including their denominations and serial numbers.
- A list of all stocks, bonds and their location.
- A listing of any pension or profit sharing plans of which you are a participant, including the location of any explanatory booklets.
- Location of recent income tax returns, both State and Federal.
- A statement regarding the disposition of any tangible personal property having sentimental value and an explanation of the reasons for any unusual distribution made under the Will.
- If you have changed your Will or made a new Will or a codicil, include a statement to that effect.
- A listing of all persons to whom you owe money and location of bills.
- A statement as to where you keep all bills and records of payment such as canceled bank checks.
- A listing of any large gifts you've given in recent years.
THIS ARTICLE HAS BEEN DESIGNED AND PRESENTED BY THE FIRM OF KANTOR AND LINDEROTH, ESQ. IT IS INTENDED TO PROVIDE A GENERAL FORUM FOR DISCUSSION OF THE LEGAL ISSUES CONTAINED THEREIN. THE INFORMATION PROVIDED HEREIN IS NOT INTENDED TO BE PROVIDED AS LEGAL ADVICE, WHICH CAN ONLY BE APPROPRIATELY PROVIDED AFTER A FULL DISCUSSION WITH AN ATTORNEY WHERE THE FULL FACTS OF A PARTICULAR SITUATION ARE REVIEWED.