Your estate plan is much more than just a set of documents, or a lifeless pile of paper. Nevertheless, it is only through documents that you and your wishes truly get a voice that last beyond your own life. While there are the legal documents that speak to the law, sometimes your estate could benefit from non-legal documents that speak to the heart.
Simply put, a “letter of intent,” not unlike the business version used in and around business transactions, is not a document that does any of the legal heavy lifting but it can move things along.
So, too, letters of intent in the estate planning context are meant to supplement and complement a last will or trust arrangement, but never to do the work standing alone.
LifeHealthPro offered some important perspective on the letter of intent in a recent article with some special attention to planning for children with special needs and it is worthy of your consideration: “Letter of intent: a useful component of an estate plan”
If the last will tells the probate court (and your loved ones) what you want done with your assets, the letter of intent gives you the voice to fill in the gaps regarding all manner of matters. The letter can cover your hopes and wishes, let alone every practical instruction regarding this or that.
If you have a child with special needs, then a letter of intent can give you space for practical instruction sthat simply cannot fit neatly within a last will and may be inappropriate for a legal document in the first place.
That is the rub, of course.
The letter of intent is not the last will and is not legally binding.
For a bit more on the letter of intent as a tool and for a great deal more advice on how to use it, particularly with regard to children with special needs, check out the original article. Sometimes this little letter can make a big difference, even if it is just to help you and your loved ones organize your thoughts.
In the end, however, if your objectives require addressing some essential legal concerns, then the heavy lifting needs to be done in properly drawn legal documents.
Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When making your financial, tax and estate plans, do not go it alone. Be sure to engage competent professional counsel.
For more information about estate planning in Overland Park, KS (and throughout the rest of Kansas and Missouri) and to download free tools to help you organize your estate, visit my estate planning website.
Reference: LifeHealthPro (June 3, 3014) “Letter of intent: a useful component of an estate plan”