The preparation of a last will and testament is of utmost importance in the estate planning process to insure wishes are carried out according to your will. However, once you have secured a party to act as executor of your estate and have the necessary documents drafted by an attorney, there is an additional step to consider, which can make a huge difference for your grieving family. Write an informal letter of instruction to your executor.

Just because someone agrees to act as executor of a will does not mean that he or she has knowledge of the location, or even the existence of, all assets and documents. Many times, parents never think to inform their children of the existence of accounts, such as retirement, life insurance, stocks, bonds or even funeral wishes. Locating and closing these accounts will become the burden of your executor.

A simple, informal letter to an executor can offer invaluable clarity in carrying out the necessary duties of the position. It can also prevent disputes among family members who may not be thrilled with their delegated portion, or lack thereof, of an inheritance. An informative article includes an exhaustive list of what information to include in your letter, as well as what locations of documents or other assets to specify.

The probate process itself can be a long, complex and often quite stressful time. Any form of clarity or instruction which you can leave behind, in addition to a valid will, can be priceless in helping a family move forward without conflict.