The Best Gift To Your Family (and it doesn’t cost a thing)

By: Mary Anne Cody

There is one gift you can easily assemble in under ten minutes, at no cost, that will someday be greatly appreciated by your loved ones. A letter of instruction can provide great comfort and relief to your family when you are not available to provide guidance in person.

A letter of instruction is just that, an informal note to your family with guidance and information.  This is not formal legal document, it is not a will. The letter of instruction could include such things as:

  • the location of your will;
  • the location of your birth certificate, marriage license;
  • online digital account information, logins;
  • insurance information and contacts;
  • financial advisor contacts;
  • location of tax information;
  • safe deposit box;
  • combinations;
  • key locations;
  • firearm information such as gun case key, permit locations;
  • location of any cash or stock certificates.

The letter could include any information that is important to you and to your family.  Some people include information on wishes for obituaries and funerals directions, as well as identifying household or personal items to be given to someone specific; again keep in mind this is not a binding document.

If you have some time for reflection during the holidays, consider taking some time to write out some important information for your family, and let someone know where this letter will be kept.