The Role of a Letter of Intent in Your Estate Plan

A Letter of Intent (LOI) is a valuable and often overlooked component of an estate plan. While not a legally binding document like a will or trust, an LOI serves as a supplementary document that provides guidance and additional information to your loved ones and beneficiaries. Here’s a closer look at the role of a Letter of Intent in your estate plan:

Clarifying Intentions

An LOI allows you to explain the intentions and motivations behind certain decisions made in your formal estate planning documents. It provides context for your choices.

Special Instructions

If you have specific requests or instructions related to the care of a pet, the maintenance of a family property, or any other unique circumstances, an LOI can provide detailed guidance.

Funeral and Memorial Wishes

You can use an LOI to express your preferences regarding your funeral or memorial service, burial or cremation, and any specific arrangements you desire.

Financial Account Information

While sensitive financial information should be included in your formal estate planning documents, an LOI can supplement this by listing accounts, assets, and debts, making it easier for your executor to locate and manage them.

Digital Assets and Passwords

In the digital age, an LOI can be instrumental in providing access to your online accounts, including social media, email, and financial accounts, by listing usernames and passwords.

Healthcare and Medical Instructions

If you have specific healthcare preferences or medical conditions that you want your loved ones to be aware of, you can include this information in your LOI.

Family Information

An LOI can be an opportunity to provide your loved ones with a family history, important contacts, or any other information that you believe is essential for them to know.

Personal Messages

Many individuals use an LOI to write personal messages or convey their thoughts, blessings, or expressions of love to their family members or beneficiaries.

Flexibility and Updates

Unlike formal legal documents, an LOI is easy to update as circumstances change or as you have new wishes or instructions. It provides a level of flexibility in your planning.

It is important to note that while an LOI is not a legally binding document, it may carry significant weight in court if there are disputes or questions about your intentions. It serves as valuable guidance for your executor, trustee, or family members, helping to ensure that your wishes are honored as closely as possible.

To make your Letter of Intent effective, keep it up to date, and ensure that your executor or trustee knows of its existence and where to find it in your estate planning records. Sharing the contents of the LOI with key individuals can help prevent misunderstandings and disputes down the road.

If you have questions or would like to learn how you can use a Letter of Intent in your estate plan, contact Wilson Law PLC at 866-603-5976 or fill out our contact form, and we will be in touch to schedule a meeting.