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How to Use an Explanatory Letter in Your Estate Plan

As you work on creating your will, you may find that you want to include explanations about some of your decisions. For example, you might feel it important to why you are leaving a special collection of yours to one child rather than another. The will itself is not the best place to leave these explanations — it should stick to the nuts and bolts information on what you are doing with your property.

Instead, you may create an “explanatory letter,” which is a separate document attached to your will. This letter allows you to have a final say on any personal matters you wish, including explanations for your will, final instructions or words of encouragement. This letter is not at all legally binding, and there is very little danger anything you put into the letter will cause any problems relating to your will. In fact, in some cases, judges might be able to use your letter to clarify your intentions if there is any question about the contents of your will.

The following are some ideas of what you might include in your letter:

  • Explanations about gifts: You could explain why you are leaving a gift to a specific person rather than to another person.
  • Explanation about gift disparities: You might explain why you left more to one person than another.
  • Shared gift suggestions: If there are assets you are leaving to multiple people, you may suggest what they can do to divide those gifts.
  • Final sentiments: Whether they are positive or negative, you may leave behind final thoughts for people in your explanatory letter.
  • Pet instructions: If you have specific instructions as to what you want done with your pets, you could leave those instructions in your explanatory letter.

For the sound legal guidance you need when planning for the future of you and your loved ones, speak with a skilled Florida estate planning lawyer at The Charles Law Offices.

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