Letter of wishes

There can be information that you don't want to put in your will.  This can be confidential information (e.g. bank account numbers etc) or something deeply personal (e.g. reasons for particular gifts).

Always bear in mind your will becomes a public document after it goes through Probate.

Making a Letter of Wishes is often a good way to provide information to your exeutors and beneficiaries in a confidential manner.

How to make a letter of wishes

There is no fixed precedent for a Letter of Wishes.  It's exactly what it sounds like - just a letter.

You can hand write your Letter of Wishes or use a computer.  The important thing is that you set down the information that you need to.

If you need a pointer on how to set out the letter you can do either of the following:

  • Search the internet for letter layouts; or
  • Use the template search on your word processor programme e.g. Word until you find a layout you like.

Take the time you need to set out your thoughts clearly. If you are tackling a sensitive or difficult subject it's always worth writing something down, sleeping on it, then reviewing again the next day.

Make sure that you do not set out any extra gifts that are not in the will.  This can lead to the creation of a legal Trust which can have time, expense and tax implications.  If you feel you need to do this (e.g. to give a gift to someone who is not in your will) you should speak to a traditional solicitor.

What to do with your letter of wishes

You should keep your Letter of Wishes with your will so it is found at the same time.

You should NOT attach the Letter of Wishes (or anything else) to your will.  Do not use staples, glue, sellotape, paperclips or anything else to attach the letter to your will. If you do this then the whole will could be made invalid.

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