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Letters of final wishes can comfort and help families

Nevada lawyers with experience in estate planning draft wills, trusts and powers of attorney for their clients, but there is one very important document that is not written by an attorney. Letters of final wishes have no legal standing and do not influence how assets will be distributed, but they do convey information and requests that grieving relatives and friends may find both comforting and useful.

Letters of final wishes are a way to convey information that family members and trusted individuals may need but cannot find in a will. In addition to personal messages, these letters could contain details about funeral arrangements or the passwords for online accounts. Testators can also use letters of final wishes to explain some of their estate planning decisions. This can be particularly important when heirs are unlikely to be happy about the contents of the will.

As well as the names of important contacts and the locations of financial documents such as tax returns and pension statements, letters of final wishes may mention more personal matters like pets and how they should be cared for. Most experts agree that testators should take time when drafting letters of final wishes and err on the side of providing their loved ones with too much rather than too little information.

Experienced estate planning attorneys will likely have encountered situations where family members were uncertain about what to do after a loved one had passed away, and they may be able to use these experiences to help their clients write comforting and useful letters of final wishes. Attorneys could also suggest that estate plans and letters of final wishes be revisited on a regular basis in light of evolving laws and changing family situations.

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