Letter to My Spouse
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 the name of my Living Trust (so you will not need any approval from probate court for access), 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 Trust, 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 Living Trust is in is located in __________________. You have received a copy of my Trust.
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 the Living Trust 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 all the investment accounts 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 years.
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,