The primary purpose of a Will is to ensure that your estate will pass to your intended beneficiaries.
The directions in a Will are legally binding. What if you wanted to allow some flexibility for your executor or family to decide?
Unlike your Will, a letter of wishes isn’t legally binding however, it does give you the ability to express wishes on issues which are important to you.
So what types of things are normally included in a letter of wishes?
Guardianship of children
Whilst their guardian would ultimately have the final say in how your children are looked after before reaching adulthood, you can specify your wishes for their maintenance, education and advancement in a letter of wishes which could include:
- the schools you would like your children to attend;
- work experience;
- Sports and extracurricular interests;
- education experiences;
- your childrens’ regular doctors;
- details of any medical conditions of which your guardians need to be aware.
e.g. whether you would prefer burial or cremation, or the location, religious denomination and content of your funeral service.
Who and how you would like to see your pets looks after by.
Guiding your executors generally
As an example it could include preferences about:
- who should receive particular items of sentimental value;
- whether particular assets of your estate should be sold or, alternatively, transferred to beneficiaries; and
- how you would like your beneficiaries to use their inheritances.