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Letter of Instructions for Your Estate Plan


Whether you are starting from scratch or have an estate plan in place, a letter of instruction ("LOI") is an important part of any comprehensive plan. A letter of instruction can help your loved ones manage important information about you. A LOI conveys your desires, includes practical information about where to find various items referenced in your plan, and can provide advice to help those you designate in managing your affairs.


Even with a new or updated estate plan, there exists a lot of information that your heirs need to know that does not necessarily fit into the format of a will, trust, or other estate plan components. In the absence of this information, it is easy for those in charge to miss important items and alternatively become overwhelmed, sifting through all of the documents you left behind. All LOI's are as different as the persons who wrote them; however, there are some standard data that every LOI should include:


  • A current list of people and their contact information to inform of your death

  • A list of beneficiaries of your estate plan

  • The locations of important documents like your will, trust, financial statements, insurance policies, deeds, and birth certificate

  • A comprehensive list of assets such as bank accounts, investment accounts, real estate holdings, insurance policies, and military benefits if applicable

  • PINs, usernames, and passwords for debit cards and online accounts

  • Usernames and passwords for social media accounts, music or information accounts