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Writing a letter of final wishes

A person in California who is preparing an estate plan might also want to consider writing something known as a letter of final wishes. This is a document that addresses all the aspects of an estate plan that wills, powers of attorney, health care proxies and other documents cannot. An LFW might discuss a testator's reasons for making certain estate planning decisions and more.

For example, an LFW might include a section on funeral planning. This could include an obituary, funeral arrangements and even a playlist for the wake. The letter may also include passwords for various online accounts.

Just because an LFW is a more informal document does not mean that it should be quickly structured. Funeral arrangements and the rationale for how assets are distributed might form the first part of the LFW. Sections that follow might deal with how to notify various organizations or societies the testator is involved with, how collective gifts might be used and how pets should be cared for. There might also be a section on how to contact an attorney, insurance agents and other important people.

Estate planning is a task that some people may postpone because it involves thinking about difficult issues. In some cases, a individual might think that they do not need an estate plan because their estate is not large. However, there are many elements to an estate plan that do not involve distributing assets, such as the LFW or the health care proxy. If a person does not have a will, the state will decide how assets are distributed.

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