What is a letter of wishes?

A letter of wishes is a document which can be written to supplement a Will.

Unlike a Will, which could become a public document if probate is obtained, a letter of wishes is confidential and will only go to the chosen recipient of the letter. You don’t really need a solicitor to draft this letter, it can be done by yourself, however experienced solicitors can assist you with thinking about certain issues if you need guidance. The letter will guide your executors, trustees and/or your family as to how you would like them to deal with your assets.

It’s not a legally binding document so your executors and trustees are not legally bound to follow your wishes, though it is likely they would do so if appointed and you deem them trustworthy. Your wishes can cover almost anything such as gifts, personal statements of affection or how you would like your estate or personal items to be distributed.

However, you must ensure these don’t conflict with your Will. Creating a letter of wishes is also a lot easier than creating a Will. There is no template to follow, it can be amended at any time for any changes in your circumstances and the only requirement is that you sign and date it, unlike a Will, it doesn’t have to be witnessed and you can make more than one.

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