Letter of Wishes

What is a Letter of Wishes?

A Letter of Wishes is an informal document that accompanies your Will, that can help explain your intentions to your executor. It is not a legally binding document and can be modified more easily and frequently than your Will.

We always think of the Letter of Wishes as the soul of your Estate Plan, with the physical body being the legally binding documents e.g. Will, Enduring Power of Attorney, etc.  Some of the key information you might cover in a Letter of Wishes is:

  • reasons why you haven’t named a certain beneficiary in your Will
  • your care preferences for young children
  • guidance to the guardians you choose for any minor children e.g. education, ideals, hopes and wishes
  • who you would like to receive your belongings that hold more emotional than financial value to you e.g. engagement or wedding rings, watches, military medals, family heirlooms, etc
  • the location of important documents or assets
  • Information and guidance for your executor(s) around deeds, insurances, passwords or financial information they may require to perform their role.

To ensure you don’t unintentionally expose your estate to litigation, it is important you do not word your letter in a way that conflicts with your Will.  A legal professional can assist you with this.

There are many legal firms that offer guidance around the preparation of a Letter of Wishes and some even provide templates.  You can find these by simply searching online for “Letter of Wishes” in the state in which you reside.