Thursday, July 19, 2007

Letter of Instruction

In this months issue of Money Magazine, Jean Chatzky has a good article about writing a letter of instruction to your heirs to help them sort through your affairs should you die. Jean makes the point that often heirs are unaware of where to look to find important documents or whom to contact to find information on your estate. While a letter of instruction is not a legal document, it can help your children or other heirs during a very troubling time. Some of the items Jean suggests for inclusion are:

  • The location of estate planning documents (wills, trusts etc.)
  • The location of financial documents (tax returns, deeds, bank statements)
  • The location of Safe deposit boxes and their keys
  • Life insurance policies LTC policies
  • Investment accounts and contact information
  • Phone numbers for accountants, attorneys, financial and insurance advisors
  • Funeral home information if you have made arrangements
Some other items that come to mind:

  • Information and passwords for email accounts
  • Information and passwords on home security systems
  • Information and contacts for pensions
While planning for our own deaths is never something we wish to dwell on, making life easier for our heirs is probably a common goal. Maybe looking at it in this light will make this wonderful idea easier to implement.

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