How can letters of instruction help your executor?

On Behalf of | Jul 15, 2021 | Estate Planning

Whoever you choose to be your executor will have many tasks to deal with. Those who inherit from you should receive their inheritance in a timely manner, so anything that can help your executor process your estate could be important. You might make probate more efficient by including letters of instruction along with your will.

Smart Asset explains that a letter of instruction is not a legal document. It is a guide that explains things like your funeral preferences and who you want to care for your pet. A letter of instruction can assist your executor in a number of ways.

List locations of assets

One thing that can really slow down your executor is not knowing where to find all of your assets. With a letter of instruction, you can list the locations of everything that you own. You can also detail how to access them. If you have a bank account, you can provide the account number and the PIN number. If you list digital and other online accounts, you can supply usernames and passwords.

Provide contact information

Your executor will also need to speak with people who have assisted you with legal and financial decisions. If your executor has to hunt for contact information for your attorney or financial advisor, it could slow probate down. In a letter of instruction, you can name whoever assisted you with your financial matters and estate plans and give their contact information.

Help locate important papers

In addition to locating assets and contacting important advisors, your executor will need access to your financial documents like your recent tax returns or your ownership documents like your real estate titles and deeds. Include the location of any important document that your executor will need in a letter of instruction so that your executor does not have to search for them.

Explain decisions to relatives

Sometimes conflict breaks out between heirs if one of them wants a piece of property like a painting or a kitchen set even if the will says otherwise. This could lead to litigation that will slow down the probate process. However, you might address the concerns of your children or other heirs by explaining your reasoning in a letter of instruction. By hearing from you, it may help your heirs accept your decision.