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Including a Letter of Final Wishes in a will

New Jersey residents may be familiar with a non-legal estate planning document known as a Letter of Final Wishes. This document provides a way for the testator to express their wishes pertaining to important personal issues not stated in the will. When writing an LFW, it is recommended that the testator arrange it into several different sections.

The first section could outline the testator's wishes about the final arrangements and an explanation regarding his or her thinking about any unique provisions in the will. Other sections could address mundane issues, legal matters and various other personal affairs.Testators can also outline their burial and funeral arrangements, list those to be notified of their death, offer details regarding a military service and provide details regarding a memorial service.

In another section of the document, testators may express personal details, such as their online account passwords and IDs. This section could also include information about where important documents are kept, such as tax returns, investment papers and pension statements. A further section can address non-legal matters that include directions on the care of their pets, advice about collective gifts and notifications directed to any particular organizations.

When writing an LFW, the more information the testator can provide, the better. This will be quite helpful to family members who must sort out the decedent's affairs. It is also important that the testator's family know about the document and its location.

With proper estate planning, there will be fewer chances for family disputes and confusion after the testator dies. An attorney could review a client's will and other estate planning documents to make sure that everything is in order.

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Lanza & Lanza LLP
5 Main Street
Flemington, NJ 08822

Phone: 908-905-0183
Fax: 908-782-4012
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