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Clarifying your estate plan with a letter of intent

Many Ontario residents wonder whether the arrangements they made for their property after their death will meet with contention and suspicion from surviving loved ones. This could happen if no one understands the intent behind the decisions made. A letter outlining this and other information could prove invaluable to them during the estate administration process since it can be provided to loved ones prior to death.

This would not only provide an explanation regarding an individual's choices regarding the distribution of his or her assets, but also provide valuable information needed in order to better handle gathering and identifying assets in advance of estate administration. This list should also include any digital assets -- even social media accounts. Having this sensitive information is necessary in order to wrap up an estate, but does not necessarily belong in a will.

The location of important documents could also go into this letter. Family members need to where items such as birth certificates, vehicle title and property deeds, among other things, are kept. Knowing where these and other documents are located can save a great deal of time and effort in an already challenging situation.

Identifying information for beneficiaries on life insurance policies, retirement accounts and more would help locate them quickly. The same could be said for all heirs of an individual. Information regarding pets would also be helpful. 

Even though this type of letter would not be a legal part of an estate plan, leaving it for loved ones could help the estate administration process go more smoothly. One of the most frustrating duties many executors face is locating and gathering the assets of the deceased. Ontario residents can provide this one last list of instructions and useful information, which provides everyone with some extra peace of mind.

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