LETTER OF WISHES
A Letter of Wishes is a letter which accompanies your Will.
When a person dies and, upon a grant of Probate, their Will can become a public document. Given that Wills concern personal details and sensitive information, a Will becoming public could expose a lot of sensitive and private information.
You may therefore wish to take steps to reduce the impact this may have on those that survive you. One way of doing this is to prepare a Letter of Wishes, to accompany your Will.
Below, we discuss areas where you may wish to include additional information in a Letter of Wishes. There could be information in your Will that you wouldn’t want to be made available to members of the public, and could even include Personal Comments or Statements.
A Letter of Wishes is not legally binding which means that there is no obligation for the contents of the Letter to be adhered to, in the same way as there would for a Will. You should also ensure that the content of the Letter of Wishes does not contradict any content in your Will.
When you know you may not see someone again, you might do all you can to prepare for that time.
You may want to include personal things to say, things you wouldn’t want to or couldn’t convey in person or in a Will. Maybe you want to share pieces of advice for them to remember once you are gone, or maybe there are emotions you could never communicate while alive.
A Letter of Wishes could be the perfect document to set out such sentiments.
If you were to die with children under the age of 18 and if there were no parent responsible for their upbringing, your Will should appoint a legal guardian.
However, it is not always appropriate or fitting to include detailed instructions in your Will on how you may want your children to be raised.
A Letter of Wishes is a place for you to give such detailed and considered instructions to any guardians, detailing in full how you wish your children to be raised, which schools you may want them to attend or factors you would consider important to their ongoing development and education.
The amount and type of your possessions should change during the course of your life. Many possessions, digital and physical, may form part of your estate.
If, after you make your Will, you acquire possessions that you wish to make specific direction regarding, then instead of amending your Will, you can include or add details of them to a Letter of Wishes.
This can be more convenient and neater than amending your Will.
While your Will should include brief details about any funeral or burial choices you may have, your Will is not designed to contain a comprehensive list of your funeral wishes. In fact, in some cases a Will may only be located and read after a person has died and been buried.
Do you want guests to dress in a certain way (for example, no black), do you wish to plan the schedule and outline of the funeral service (including songs to be sung, suggestions of passages to be read)? Place these details in a Letter of Wishes.