Kathryn T. Joseph & Associates, Inc.
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Writing a letter of final wishes

When preparing their will, Ohio residents may benefit from including a letter of final wishes. This non-legal document is a way for testators to express themselves to family members in a thoughtful and considerate manner. It includes information that is not typically included in a will.

When composing a LFW, it may be helpful if it is arranged into various sections. One section could pertain to the final arrangements to include how the obituary should be written, who should be informed of the death and the structure of the person's funeral service. Another section could address the testator's views reflecting some of the will's provisions, such as why assets were bequeathed to a particular heir. Testators can also use the document to express their desires regarding many personal details, from highly important matters to simple ones. This section would be an appropriate place for the online accounts, passwords, usernames and other pertinent electronic information.

Another section could include non-legal issues that are nevertheless still important, such as how pets should be cared for, instructions for notifying organizations, societies or charities, and advice to heirs pertaining to collective gifts, such as a vacation house or boat. It can also be helpful to heirs if the LFW includes a section explaining where the testator's important documents are stored and contact information for names of insurance agents, bankers, accountant and attorneys.

A will and a letter of final wishes are ways whereby people can communicate their thoughts about their estate to their loved ones, which can help the family avoid disputes after they die. When preparing a will, individuals might also want to seek the advice of an estate planning attorney who could offer additional ways to protect their assets.

Source: Forbes, "Estate Planning: Your Letter of Final Wishes", Rob Clarfeld, May 18, 2017

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Kathryn T. Joseph & Associates, Inc.
Executive Commons West
29425 Chagrin Blvd.
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