Estate Planning Letter to Your Family

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

my cards.

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,



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