February is National Heart Month. It just so happens that Valentine’s Day (Feb 14th) also falls in February. So, in keeping with the “Heart-Based” theme, as well as continuing the theme of financial awareness from last month, I thought I would write about writing. Writing letters that is and a few other things. Let’s get started!
“Letters are among the most significant memorial a person can leave behind them” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
The last thing most people want is to leave their heirs puzzled over their final wishes. So, in addition to the estate documents we have discussed before and you probably dusted off last month, it may be helpful to prepare a letter of instruction to communicate final wishes to your loved ones. A will may be a good directions, but with the additional letter, you can say things the way you want and maybe even explain a few things.
Say it with love.
A final letter of instruction is not a legal document, but it does allow you to more clearly state your intentions such as organ donation, funeral arrangements and anything else that either has not been addressed by your will or trusts or you feel needs better explanation. It can also express feelings and allow you to “say it with love”. Most wills and legal documents do not allow for that emotional side or explanation to come through.
My suggestion would be to hand write your missive. (Of course, if your handwriting is like mine, I understand wanting to use a type-written sheet!) While you may want to type the locations of documents, financial advisers, attorneys, login IDs and passwords for them to use, a handwritten note or letter from you can be a precious treasure for your loved ones to hold as pass along. You do not need an attorney to write this letter, you just need to say it from the heart.
How about now?
Speaking of saying it from the heart; you can write a letter NOW as well. The final letter of instruction is a great thing for you to leave, but why not write a “love note” or a “letter of blessing” now to your loved ones. In this day of Email, Text, Posts, Shares, Likes and Blogs, a handwritten note expressing how someone has blessed, enriched and made your life special can be a welcome reprieve. Be specific in how you have been blessed by this loved one and convey a memory. In just taking the time to hand write
the letter, you will have touched their life in a way a text might not.
Say it from the heart.
This will be a recurring theme for February letters and for February Reviews, we will be looking at your beneficiary designations and making sure those are how you want them. I will be reaching out to many of you personally this month. However, please feel free to contact me as well
This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized legal advice.
We suggest that you discuss your specific situation with a qualified legal adviser.
Beneficiary Designation Checklist: Now is a good time to review your beneficiaries. Take a look at who is designated and make sure it is who you would like to have designated.
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