People often write Letters of Wishes to accompany a will. Their name exactly what they are, a letter setting out your wishes for the distribution of your estate on death, they are a form of guidance for your will’s executors.
However, unlike a will, a Letter of Wishes is not a legally binding document, so your executors can ignore its contents. While that should always be considered while writing one it is highly recommended that everybody should consider having one for a number of reasons, including:
Many of our personal possessions are of monetary but significant sentimental value. For many people if we were to individually list all such possessions within a will it would become an overly long document. Also, your executors would be legally bound to distribute each of these gifts in accordance with the will and that would mean that every addition or variation would require that the will be changed. The alternative would be to leave a Letter of Wishes setting out who you wished the cherished items to go to and why, which can prevent some unpleasant squabbling.
Letters of Wishes are very useful when distributing your estate unevenly amongst loved ones, for example where one child receives less than the others. Sadly, there may be a breakdown of the relationship, but more often an uneven distribution reflects that one child has less need than others, however, in the absence of any explanation to that effect, that one child can be deeply hurt by the perceived rejection. A Letter of Wishes can be used to provide an explanation and avert any hurt.
If you have asked someone to be a Guardian in your will the Letter of Wishes can be used to provide the Guardian with guidance on matters such as education and general upbringing.
For any further information please do not hesitate to contact us.