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  • Writer's pictureCook Tillman

Should a letter of intent be part of your estate plan?

You are probably familiar with the basic documents that comprise an estate plan. But you may not have heard of a letter of intent or know what is usually in it. Learning more about it can help you decide whether to include one in your estate plan.

A letter of intent is not an estate plan must-have. However, you may want to think about writing one as a thoughtful final touch. “A letter of intent is not a legal document,” states one expert. “It is a letter to loved ones or an executor of a will. It acts as a message from the deceased…” 

Its tone can be relaxed rather than stiffly formal. The letter can delineate your last directives and act a fond farewell to those you leave behind.

Topics a letter of intent can cover

The AARP suggests that the letter deal with the distribution of your cherished belongings, your preferred funeral arrangements (which house of worship, who to invite, who you would like to deliver the eulogy and where you want to be laid to rest) and financial directives. A letter of intent can also discuss the following subjects:

  1. Details such as passwords to your online accounts

  2. Instructions for how to find your heirs, such as their postal addresses and phone numbers

  3. Who will take ownership of your beloved pet(s)

Include a poignant last message

Those close to you will be dealing with their grief after you pass. For many people, the process of mourning a loved one is challenging and painful, even if their death was anticipated. A loving message to them in your letter of intent can provide deeply meaningful consolation and comfort when it is needed most.

Not sure about how to write a letter of intent?

Maybe putting together this document has you a little stymied. Reach out for guidance to someone who has experience in this area. They can give you some ideas and help you get started.


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