An explanatory letter is a document that does not have the strict legal requirements of a will but enables you to provide further context to the information provided in your will and in other estate planning documents.

While a will is strictly for inherited legal tasks like naming beneficiaries for your property, guardians for minor children, and your executor, you might wish to explain some of the decisions that you have arrived at and to decrease the possibility that someone could misunderstand your intentions in the future when reading your will when you are no longer around to explain your decision-making process. A letter of intent can be included along with your will for these purposes.

Including an explanatory letter can help give this additional context to your loved ones and to clarify your intentions. Certain things that you could include in your explanatory letter are:

  • Disparities in bequests.
  • Why certain beneficiaries are receiving property and others are not.
  • Explaining how any shared gifts might be divided.
  • Leaving behind instructions for protecting or leaving your digital legacy.
  • Expressing the wishes that you have in relation to caring for a pet.
  • Expressing negative or positive sentiments about a beneficiary.

In these circumstances the insight of an estate planning attorney can be crucial in helping you to clarify your intentions and ensure that you have thought about all of the different relevant aspects of your full estate plan.

We’ve been guiding clients through the process of evaluating and implementing aspects of a comprehensive estate plan for years. When you’re ready to take the next step, communicate with our Pasadena estate planning lawyers.

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