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Letters of Instruction, or Ethical Wills

Most people are aware of the importance of establishing a will, but a legal document like that does not necessarily allow you to convey an array of important details and thoughts to your loved ones. To supplement your will, consider writing a letter of instruction.

A letter of instruction, also known as an ethical will, is an informal (not a legal) document intended to provide a final message from the deceased to his or her survivors. This message can range from simple well wishes and fond farewells to loved ones to a deep description of faith in the hopes that your loved ones will follow that faith in your absence; it can be as simple as a letter to your children or as complicated as a complete personal philosophical treatise.

The beauty of a letter of instruction is its deeply personal nature. This is the perfect opportunity to share thoughts and messages with those left behind, and this ethical will can become one of the most treasured possessions of your loved ones.