Letter of wishes
A Letter of Wishes is a document that accompanies your Will. It is not legally binding but can guide your executors and trustees to ensure your personal wishes are carried out.
You must take care that a Letter of Wishes does not contain anything that could conflict with the Will. The Letter can advise on anything but most common uses include:
- Who to notify of your death, or in some cases, who not to tell.
- The style of funeral you want, whether you want burial or cremation, and any specific instructions regarding the service, where you would like to be buried or have your ashes sprinkled.
- Listing your main assets, including bank accounts, life insurance policies, expensive items or jewellery and their location, which will help your executors in the administration of your estate. These items should also be included in your Will, as the Letter of Wishes is not legally binding.
- Guiding your executors or trustees on how you would like any money managed, or trusts created in your Will to be run.
- Advising guardians on how you would like your children to be raised, their religious upbringing, education, and where they live. These details should be reviewed as the children grow up.
- Giving more detailed information to help your executors identify specific items you are giving away in your Will.
- Providing explanations as to why you have excluded someone from the Will, if you think that it may be a controversial decision or challenged later.
A Letter of Wishes should be written in plain English, signed and dated, but not witnessed to avoid any claim that it has become a legal Will or codicil.
This document is suitable for people who live in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.
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