I am not dead. Yet.
I am not dead. Yet
Most people don’t spend too much time thinking about their own funeral. I do believe death is inevitable. Yet, some of us have a vision about our memorial service or the handling of our remains. But many do not because of the morbid thought of yourself being laid in the ground or being burned. (Hopefully not alive). So, prepare now and have ready so when that day comes – and it will – your heirs will have an idea of what you decided. There is a simple way make sure you shit is taken care of when you go.
A letter of instruction can help you accomplish that goal. A letter of instruction is not a legal document; it’s a letter written by you that provides additional, more personal information regarding your estate. It can be addressed to whomever you choose, but typically, letters of instruction are directed to the executor, family members, or beneficiaries.
Make a Cheat Sheet. Think of a letter of instruction as a “cheat sheet” to your estate. Here are a few ideas and concepts that may be included:
*The location of important legal documents, such as your will, insurance policies, titles to automobiles, deeds to property, etc. Because you probably don’t know where any of that bullshit is right now. So how in the hell will anyone else be able to find.
*A list of financial assets, including savings and checking accounts, stocks, bonds, and retirement accounts. Be sure to include account numbers, PINs, and passwords where applicable. Yes, try to remember passwords and PINs without ‘auto save”
*A list of pensions or profit-sharing plans, including the location of their explanatory booklets. Not many people know what the hell that means.
*The location of your latest tax return and Social Security statements. We are supposed to keep these in a safe place. Identity theft and shit you know.
*The location of any safe deposit boxes and their keys. Reciprocating saw works sometimes, you can really fuck shit up if you don’t know how to use.
*Information on your social media accounts and how they can be accessed. So, all those “friend’s” IMs you don’t want seen, you might consider removing.
Identify Funeral Wishes. A letter of instruction is also a good place to leave boxed, buried or burned wishes. You should consider giving the location of your cemetery plot deed, if you have one, so people know where you can be found resting. You may even wish to specify which hymns or speakers you would like included in your memorial service. Although a letter of instruction is not legally binding, your heirs will probably think you are somewhat fucking twisted but will be glad to know how you would like to be remembered. It also may be helpful to leave a list of contact information for people who should be notified in the event of your death. Not sure about leaving EXs info but hey your choice.
There is no “best way” to write a letter of instruction. It can be written in your style and reflect your personality, or it can be written to simply convey information. You should decide what type of letter best fits your estate strategy.
I am not a lawyer, so the following is a suggestion not advice. Get your shit straight legally. Do a will also. When your ass is gone, and no will drawn up you die intestate. When this happens, the intestacy laws of the state where you reside will determine how your property is distributed upon your death. This includes any bank accounts, securities, real estate, and other assets you own at the time of death. Yes, you might have next of kin, but it can still become a cluster fuck.