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What Is a Letter of Wishes?

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A Letter of Wishes is a document that can be used to guide your Executors and Trustees when managing your estate after your death.

A Letters of Wishes is generally used in two circumstances:

  1. Alongside your Will – this would be a letter setting out your wishes relating to specific matters that you feel may need some further explanation. Examples include:
  • When you have not made provision for a family member who you believe may be able to bring a claim against your estate;
  • When you have specific funeral wishes you would like your Executors to follow;
  • If you have particular wishes in relation to the guardianship of your minor children and how they should be raised (i.e. religion, education, etc);
  • If you have specific items that you would like to be passed to certain family members or friends;
  • What is to happen to any pets you may have; and
  1. Alongside Trusts – this would be guidance for your Trustees on how they should manage the Trust if you have created one during your lifetime, or upon your death, in your Will.

A Letter of Wishes is used to help the Executors and Trustees who are responsible for looking after your estate and distributing assets in accordance with your Will and in accordance with any wishes made known to them. 

What Should A Letter of Wishes Include?

A Letter of Wishes is not legally binding, which means that your Executors and Trustees can use the letter as guidance, but they are not legally bound to abide by your wishes stated in this document. Having said that, you appoint people that you know well and trust as your Executors and Trustees, and who you believe will follow any wishes made known to them.

You can cover a range of things in a Letter of Wishes – possible options have been identified above. Any information that you consider important for your Executors and Trustees to know can be left to them in a Letter of Wishes. It is important to review your Will and any Letter of Wishes regularly to ensure that they still reflect your wishes, and in doing so, you may realise that your circumstances have changed – this may result in you needing to update your Will and/or Letter of Wishes.

How Can We Help?

Here at Johnson Astills our solicitors would talk to you about your wishes and reasons for those wishes when preparing a Will or Letter of Wishes for you – they would then advise you on the best way for your wishes to be reflected upon your death.

Making a Will ensures that your estate will pass in accordance with your wishes. Here at Johnson Astills, we can provide our clients with legal advice to help ensure that our clients’ estates are dealt with in accordance with their wishes - whether this is through drafting Wills for them, updating an existing Will with a Codicil, or even preparing a side Letter of Wishes to be stored alongside your Will. Please feel free to call our expert solicitors at Johnson Astills who would be pleased to assist you with this. You can call us at our office in Leicester or our office in Loughborough. Alternatively, you may prefer to email us at or fill in our enquiry form.