Last Will and Testament Letter of Instructions
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Last Will and Testament Letter of Instructions

A letter of instructions is an unofficial document in your estate planning arsenal. It can go a long way toward giving further explicitness for your beneficiaries and your wills executor.

Fundamentals of a Will

Your will, which declares your preferences for how you would want your property managed following your passing, is one of the most vital documents you are going to create when planning your estate. Lacking one, disputes among relatives sometimes come up, and some property might even be granted to the state when no heirs can be located.

Whereas a letter of instructions is not legal documentation, inclusion of certain factors can help make the estate progression process go more streamlined. For example, your wills executor needs to know where to locate specific documents or how to log into specific online accounts.

A letter of instructions needs cover three main sections:

  • Funeral Wishes (if you have presently reserved and/or purchased a plot; if requesting cremation, the place in which you would like your ashes spread, if you would like to donate your body or organs)
  • Financial Information (assets, both monetary and otherwise; any liabilities; contact details of employers or financial advisors)
  • Personal Belongings (where specific items are located; the way to care for pets; private messages to your survivors)

Factors To Include in your Letter of Instructions

Particular items to include in your letter:

  1. The precise location of your will.
  2. Full instructions for the burial/cremation (veterans may think about being buried in a national cemetery).
  3. Exhaustive listing of friends, family members, and others that should be contacted following your passing away.
  4. The precise location of all important documentation, like real estate deeds, divorce documentation, birth certificate, any other legal documentation and records.
  5. Any information associated to memberships in societies, lodges, or other likewise organizations (Freemasons, for instance). A lot of them provide death benefits for appointed beneficiaries.
  6. Where documents associated to life insurance may be located, name of insurer(s), contract number(s), etc.
  7. All financial institution account details, including the names of financial institutions and account numbers.
  8. A catalog of any US Savings Bonds (comprising of names, denominations, and serial numbers).
  9. A catalog of any securities (and where they can be located).
  10. Any retirement plan information.
  11. Income tax returns, each state and federal, from the past couple of years.
  12. A statement concerning any changes to your will.
  13. Whereabouts of any outstanding or continual bills, in addition to  a list of any outstanding personal liabilities.
  14. Where bills and records of payment can be found.
  15. Any considerable gifts that you have given in the past couple of years.

Guarantee Everything is in Order: Get Assistance From an Estate Planning Lawyer

The content of any letter of instructions is going to vary in accordance to each person’s unique needs. The primary objective is to help your wills executor and your beneficiaries manage the process as streamlined as possible. Get a hold of a local wills lawyer, that can help guarantee that your estate paperwork clearly and effectively communicates your wishes when you are gone.


  1. Staff, F. L. (2022, December 20). Last will and testament letter of instructions. FindLaw. Retrieved January 3, 2023, from

Attorney Arizona

There’s nothing better than the peace of mind you will have knowing you’ve protected your family at a time when they need it most. Let us help. Schedule a consultation or contact Ogborne Law, PLC of Arizona today.

You’ve worked hard for your life, and you need to protect it. You owe it to your family and your legacy to take care of planning now. Contact Ogborne Law to schedule your estate-planning session.

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