Letter to My Family
Dear ________________, Date_________
As we have discussed, you should use this letter (which is not to be misconstrued as my
Will) after my death or serious disability to serve as a reminder about a number of matters.
The purpose is to make your task of handling legal and financial matters easier.
Our attorney and our accountant have a copy. Their names and direct phone numbers are
Safe deposit box. Our safe deposit box is in both our names and contains papers that you
will find useful at the time of my death. For example, my military service documents, which
will enable you to collect my veterans’ death benefits. You will also find my Will, copies of
my birth certificate, and other valuable items. The box is located at __________________.
The number of the box is _____________________. You will find my key to the box in
Living Trust. The original of my Will is in our safe deposit box at the bank. You have
received a copy of my Trust and an additional copy is in ________________.
Trustees. I have appointed _______________________ and ___________________ to
serve as trustee(s) of my estate. The trustee(s) will handle most of the legal and financial
matters but may need the assistance of our attorney and/or accountant.
Funeral arrangements. We own burial plots at ______________. The certificates are in
___________________. As we have discussed, here are my instructions for a funeral
Credit cards. Please destroy all the credit cards in my name except those that are issued
jointly to both of us. You don’t want to be burdened with the problems of improper use of
Brokerage house. Please call my securities broker ________________ at
_____________ and instruct him to nullify my standing or special instructions. Follow this
with a written confirmation. After the accounts are transferred to your control, you can act
as you wish.
Life insurance. My life insurance policies are in my __________________. Our life
insurance agent is __________________ and his telephone number is
___________________. He will assist you in obtaining and completing claims forms so that
you can promptly begin collecting these benefits.
Personal financial statement. Attached to this letter is an updated personal financial
statement that is a bit more detailed in describing the stocks, real estate, partnerships,
bank accounts and other investments we have made. When you read this, you will have a
good handle on all our investment decisions. I suggest that you consider employing
____________, who I have consulted with from time to time as an investment adviser.
Casualty insurance. The policies that we have on our home, automobiles and other
property have been purchased through _________________, whose telephone number is
__________________. Be sure that none of the policies are permitted to lapse.
Home. Our home will continue to be owned by you and full title will pass to you outside of
the probate court. Our deed and policy of title insurance are held in ________________.
Automobiles. All of our vehicles are registered in both of our names. Registration papers
are in _____________________.
Loans. In addition to the loans we have on our real estate, which are represented by notes
and deeds of trust, the policies of title insurance and deeds are in _________________.
We also have a margin account at the brokerage firm. Please give your attention to that
account with the advice of our estate-planning adviser. The circumstances will change
because everything I own will take on a new tax basis at the time of my death. Accordingly,
you have a new set of circumstances to deal with regarding income taxes on any asset
sales after my death.
Tax Returns. Copies of our tax returns for the past 10 years are located in
_______________. You can also contact our accountant for copies of returns filed in recent
Pension Plan. We have a substantial amount in a pension plan. The name and address of
the plan administrator is _____________. I have been dealing primarily with
__________________ whose telephone number is _______________. If the administrator
is not clear about what our benefits are, consult with our estate-planning adviser.
Miscellaneous. Until my estate is settled, you should keep careful records of all checks
you receive, as well as what you spend. Turn over all checks made out to me, or in our joint
names, to our executor. (Checks made out to you alone may be deposited or cashed by
you as always.) You can continue to use our joint bank account if you wish. Keep a record
of all bills paid. As questions come up, my executor or estate planning adviser is available
to consult with our family.
All my love,