What is a Letter of Direction?


Smiling Little Girl With Her Father Visiting Her GrandmotherToday, we are going to discuss why you should consider having a Letter of Direction.

A Letter of Direction can really help your family when they are trying to cope with you dying and figure out how to manage your affairs. It will be tough enough on them and this will help make things a bit easier.

This month we are focusing on the health legal documents you need before you go to the hospital. If you missed any of the series so far, catch up with the links at the end of this post. 

A Letter of Direction–sometimes also called a Letter of Instruction–gives your family information about important things like your wishes for after you pass away and how to access your assets.

Typically, a Letter of Direction includes the following:

  1. The name of your advisers and their contact information
  2. A list of all your assets and debts and the account numbers
  3. The location of your safety deposit box and the key
  4. If you have an animal, who do you want to care for the pet
  5. Funeral directions
  6. What you want in your obituary

There may be other important information you add to your Letter of Direction, but the above list is a good starting point.

Although this document is certainly not required, many families have found it to be one of the most important documents they had when they suddenly lost a loved one. Planning ahead can often ease the pain and potential chaos as well as disagreements among family members. This is especially true if you are the person in your family that is responsible for paying the bills and handling the investments.

If you don’t already have a Letter of Direction in place, talk to an estate planning attorney.

Taking a little uncomfortable time planning now will help your loved ones later.

In my upcoming blog posts, I’ll discuss more health legal documents you should have in place. STAY TUNED!

Previous posts in this series:

What other information would it be helpful to include in the Letter of Direction? I’d love to hear from you!

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