A Letter of Instructions (LOI) is a written or electronic document that sets out all the information that your fiduciaries will need to help assist you if you ever become incapacitated during your life and/or eventually upon your passing. Yes, it will take some effort, but it will be very much appreciated by your chosen fiduciaries when it is needed.
To better understand why this type of document is so important, put yourself in the shoes of one of your fiduciaries. You become responsible to handle another person’s affairs if they ever become incapacitated or deceased. This can be a big undertaking, and wouldn’t it be a great help if you had all the information the person you are helping had before they became incapacitated or deceased? So, let’s discuss LOIs in more detail.
Your fiduciaries include your agent under your Power of Attorney (assists with your financial matters during your life), your health care agent under your Advance Directive for Health Care (assists you with health care related matters and serves as your HIPAA representative during your life), your Executor under your Will (handles the probate and estate administration processes after your passing) and the Trustee of any trusts created under your estate plan (handles all the assets that pass into trust as part of your estate plan).
What type of information should be set out in your LOI? The type of information to be provided is almost infinite, but just think about what could be helpful. For example:
- Information about your various financial accounts (possibly including a copy of a monthly statement for each)
- Information about each bill you pay (possibly including a copy of a monthly statement for each)
- Information about all your various types of insurance policies (life, long-term care, disability, homeowner’s, auto, and umbrella, along with documentation related to each one)
- Copies of real estate deeds, car titles and other asset ownership records
- Copies of any debt related documents
- Listing of each of your doctors, medical conditions, and each medicine you take and when
- Information that would be helpful in assisting loved ones, especially as to special needs children
- Desires as to burial, cremation, donation of body, funeral services, etc.
- Military service information and benefits you may qualify for as a result
Many people will use a 3-ring binder to create their LOI, but you should create it any way that works best for you. To help you organize this information and/or to just provide you with a listing of the type of information to include, consider purchasing one of the many workbooks available for sale. One way to find them is to go to Amazon.com and search a descriptive term, such as “end of life planner” or “end of life workbook.” Alternatively, you can do this same search on Google to access various free resources.
Finally, keep this information in a safe location at present but findable by your fiduciaries when it is needed. You do not want any bad actor to get their hands on this important information.
If you would like to discuss this or other aspects of your estate plan in more detail, please call us at (678) 720-0750 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a consultation. We look forward to meeting you.