Be careful what you wish for...
A Letter of Wishes is a written instruction of what an individual would like to happen on their death.
This is supplementary to and usually read in conjunction with a person’s will. Such a Letter, although not legally binding, is addressed to the Executors or Trustees appointed under the will and can help to clarify and elaborate upon what the deceased has provided formally in the will.
Such Letters must be signed and preferably independently witnessed, lest there be any questions about the deceased’s mental capacity at the time of signing. The Letter should be stored with the will or deposited with the Trustees.
A Letter of Wishes might provide for
- personal items of sentimental value which might best be detailed within a Letter of Wishes rather than make a will unduly cumbersome.
- detailed instructions for funerals where there is no formal funeral plan in place.
- an explanation for the inclusion of a particular recipient under a will or perhaps details of why someone has been specifically excluded.
- detailed instructions to guardians for the care of minor children and their upbringing and welfare.
- where wills contain a discretionary trust, Letters of Wishes are particularly helpful in directing Trustees as to who the grantor would wish to benefit and the reasons for this. This can also be useful to guide Trustees under a Death in Service Scheme where the employer has otherwise no formal direction from their staff member.
Our Private Client team are experienced in providing advice and guidance on a wide range of personal law matters and would be happy to assist with the preparation of such Letters.