How to Write a Letter of Instruction for Heirs and Beneficiaries

By Legal Editor

Your possessions are not only valuable for sentimental reasons, they are also financial assets. Specify how you want your possessions to be divided after your death in your last will and testament to protect your treasured objects. In addition to your will, write a letter of instruction for your heirs and beneficiaries. This letter is not legally binding but it supplements your will with important information.

Specify the location and approximate value of your important possessions. This alleviates fees spent to locate them. The letter to your heirs and beneficiaries needs to specify exactly what objects go to which designated beneficiaries.

Instruct how you want sentimental objects of lesser value to be given out. The letter to your heirs and beneficiaries may contain information about valuable possessions as well as sentimental pieces. Specify which beneficiaries are to receive less valuable possessions.

Include important contact information in the letter to your heirs and beneficiaries. Leave important phone numbers to banks that may hold bank deposit boxes for you, as well as contact information for your other financial advisers, accountants, brokers and insurance agents.

Leave a personal message. Give the letter a personal touch and address each of your heirs and beneficiaries personally. Tell them any last wishes you may have or any hopes you have for their future.

Write as clearly as possible. Use specific details and avoid using shorthand. Your heirs and beneficiaries cannot guess what you mean when you're gone.

Keep a copy of the letter at home, one with your attorney and give the executor of your will a copy as well. Store a copy in an easily accessible place. Storing it in a safety deposit box might make it difficult for your beneficiaries to access.

Update the letter frequently or as you acquire new possessions. Check the letter at least once a year to make sure it is always up-to-date.