You may have heard of a Letter of Wishes but never been quite sure what it means or when you would need one.
As its name suggests, it is basically a letter that sets out your wishes.
It accompanies your Will and although it is not legally binding it does help guide your Executors and Trustees.
Your personal wishes are more likely to be carried out by having a Letter of Wishes.
Your Letter of Wishes can say pretty much anything you would like it to. It is important, however that it does not conflict with anything set out in your Will.
Who can write a Letter of Wishes?
You can write your own Letter of Wishes.
But, a solicitor can provide expert guidance to ensure your Letter of Wishes supports your Will.
Some of the most common things people include in their Letter of Wishes are:
- The style of funeral you would like e.g burial or cremation. In the case of a cremation you could also include where you would like your ashes sprinkled.
- Your views or wishes on how any trusts established after your death should be managed.
- Who to inform (or even who not to inform) about your death.
- A list of your personal assets, where they are kept and how you would like them distributed.
- In the case of children, your views on their future upbringing.
- Reasons why you might have left someone out of your Will.
Benefits of a Letter of Wishes:
A Letter of Wishes is really useful to have.
It is your opportunity to give your views and can help explain some of the decisions that you have made in your Will.
A Will can become a public document. However, a Letter of Wishes remains confidential to the Trustees, Executors and family members.
Again, your Letter of Wishes should support your Will not duplicate it or contradict it.
Ideally, you should write your Letter of Wishes when you prepare your Will. However, you can write one at any time. It should stay with your Will at all times.
Another benefit of a Letter of Wishes is that it can be updated or changed as any time. It’s a good idea to review it every 2 years especially if you have young children.
It is beneficial to get a solicitor to review any updates to your letter of wishes to make sure they don’t conflict with your Will.
Letters of Wishes are used in Northern Ireland.
For more information about Letters of Wishes visit Bequeathed.
You can also download our FREE Will-writing guide here.