Letter of Wishes

Your letter of wishes is not a legal document and, unlike a will, it doesn't automatically become publically accessible after your death. Instead, this versatile document takes the form of a letter addressed to your executors. As its title indicates, it expresses your wishes and tells readers about specific things that you want to happen after your death.

Your letter of wishes guides your executors

Think of this document (or documents, as you can write several letters of wishes to different recipients) as a guide for your executors, a very personal letter in which you can give instructions and guidance on virtually any subject related to your life and affairs.

  • Help your executors by listing your main assets
  • Help executors identify specific items listed in your will (photos or descriptions that would otherwise be hard to describe in, or attach to, your will)
  • Give instructions for your burial or cremation
  • Guide executors on the management of trusts, appointment of professional advisors or similar topics
  • Provide evidence to defend claims by dependants who challenge the will on the grounds of being a dependant not adequately provided for

Easy to update

Your wishes letter complements your will. And because it isn't a legal document, it is much easier (and less costly) to update as your circumstances change. Typical contents might include the following:

  • Lists of assets (including bank accounts, insurance policies and shares)
  • Lists of valuable items and guidance on the distribution of chattels
  • Access details and passwords for computer systems
  • Images and descriptions of items mentioned in a will
  • Special instructions for your burial or cremation
  • Your preferred location for the sprinkling of ashes
  • Details of the type of ceremony you want
  • Guidance on management of trusts mentioned in a will
  • Directions to the guardians of your children
  • Suggested tax mitigation plans.

A sample letter of wishes

The following demonstrates the main elements of a typical letter of wishes:

Heading: Private & Confidential
Title: Letter of wishes
To: The Trustees of my Will [dated]

  • Listing of assets and special instructions relating to these
  • Funeral details and special requests
  • Wishes in case any money passing under the will needs to be reinvested
  • Instructions for dealing with any discretionary trust (if applicable)

Signature:
Date:

How should I store my letter of wishes?

At The Well Planned Funeral, you can easily and securely store your letter(s) of wishes along with a wealth of other personal information. However, it is important to remember that your letter of wishes is not a substitute for a properly written will.

As a member of The Well Planned Funeral, you have FREE online access to our unique PDF Will service. In just a few minutes, you can do what most people haven't done yet - create and print a simple will.

And for even greater peace of mind or more complex personal circumstances, use our Your Will and Documents product. It's easy. Just complete an online form, send it for checking by a qualified solicitor, and receive your fully-checked will within two weeks.

Other Factors to Consider

You could supplement your organ donor card in your wishes letter. You may wish to stipulate how to donate your body to science. You could create a funeral poem to be read.