Letter of Wishes: A Compassionate Guide Beyond Your Will in the UK


When it comes to estate planning, many individuals focus on creating a will to ensure the smooth distribution of their assets after they pass away. While a will is a crucial legal document, another often overlooked but equally important aspect offering guidance and clarity to your loved ones the Letter of Wishes.

Understanding the Letter of Wishes:

A Letter of Wishes is a personal and non-binding document that complements your will. Unlike a will, which is a legally binding document, the Letter of Wishes serves as a heartfelt guide providing insights, preferences, and additional instructions for your beneficiaries, executors, and guardians. It is a powerful tool that allows you to communicate your wishes in a more personal and detailed manner.

What to Include in Your Letter of Wishes:

Funeral and Burial Wishes:

Outline your preferences regarding your funeral arrangements, whether you prefer burial or cremation, and any specific rituals or ceremonies you wish to observe. Providing these details can ease the burden on your loved ones during a challenging time.

Personal Belongings:

Specify how you want your personal belongings distributed. This could include sentimental items, family heirlooms, or any possessions with special significance. By expressing your wishes, you can prevent potential disputes and ensure cherished items go to those who appreciate them.

Financial Guidance:

While your will addresses the distribution of your assets, the Letter of Wishes allows you to offer more nuanced financial guidance. You can explain the reasoning behind certain decisions, such as unequal distributions among beneficiaries or establishment trusts for specific purposes.

Guardianship of Minor Children:

If you have minor children, the Letter of Wishes offers possibility to elaborate on your preferences for their care, education, and upbringing. This can include details about the values and principles you would like the appointed guardians to instil in your children.

Charitable Contributions:

If you are passionate about humanitarian causes, use the Letter of Wishes to express your desire for specific charities to benefit from your estate. This ensures that your generous values are carried forward.

Flexibility and Updates:

One of the key advantages of the Letter of Wishes is its flexibility. Unlike a will, it can be updated and revised without the need for legal formalities. As your life circumstances change, you can adapt the document with ease to reflect your evolving wishes.

Communicating Intentions:

By writing a Letter of Wishes, you are providing practical guidance as well as leaving a lasting personal message to your loved ones. This document allows you to communicate your intentions, share stories, and express your love and gratitude.


In estate planning, a Letter of Wishes is a powerful and compassionate tool that goes beyond the legalities of a will. It serves as a roadmap for your loved ones during an emotionally challenging time, offering clarity, understanding, and a personal touch to the distribution of your estate. Taking the time to craft such a letter can be a profound expression of care for those you leave behind, ensuring that your legacy is not only defined by assets but also by the wisdom, values, and love you leave behind.




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