Essential Colorado Estate Planning Knowledge – The Letter of Intent

One of the least well-known, and most practical, estate planning tools available to people in Colorado today is the letter of intent. Letters of intent are informal documents that people who create an estate plan can use to carry out a variety of tasks. While your estate planning attorney will better explain how to use a letter of intent, what you can include in it, and what you need to include in your plan to make sure you have the most protections possible, let’s take a look at some important ideas surrounding this estate planning tool.

Letters of Intent

A letter of intent, sometimes known by other terms such as a letter of instruction, is an informal way that allows a person creating an estate plan to pass on personal preferences, wishes, or other information that might not be included in other parts of his or her estate plan.

Letters of intent are not devices of legal authority, meaning that, if it ever came to it, a court would not be able to enforce any desires expressed in the letter as it would in a legally enforceable tool such as a last will and testament.

However, just because the letter of intent is not legally enforceable, that doesn’t mean that it is useless. A good letter of intent can be, and often is, one of the most useful tools you create in your estate plan because it more easily allows your family, loved ones, and your estate executor to understand your wishes.

Letter of Intent Terms

You can think of a letter of intent as a kind of road map for your family or estate executor. The letter will, for example, tell your executor where all your property is. It might include important information, such as PINs, bank account numbers, the name of your broker or financial advisor, as well as other important contact information that might be otherwise difficult to find.

Letters of intent can also include specific personal details, such as your Social Security Number, location of your birth certificate, and the location of other important documents. Further, can provide for your wishes about funeral or burial arrangements, charities to name as an alternative for mourners who might want to sending flower, and other similar details.

Letter of Intent Flexibility

Because letters of intent are not legally enforceable, they don’t have to comply with any legal standards. This means that you can use your letters of instruction informally, changing them whenever you like, or including whatever details you deem appropriate. Once you die, your estate executor, as well as your family members or loved ones, will be able to use your letter of intent to help them as they administer your final wishes.

Author Bio

Catherine Hammond is the CEO and founder of Hammond Law Group, a Colorado-based estate planning law firm she founded in 2005. With a strong focus on protecting families from the legal consequences of disability and death, she creates comprehensive estate plans that minimize taxes, costs, and government interference.

A native of Denver, Catherine completed her undergraduate studies at Coe College in Iowa, and her Juris Doctorate from the University of Denver College of Law in 1993, concentrating on estate planning, tax, and mediation. Catherine is a member of various professional organizations, including WealthCounsel, ElderCounsel, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, the Colorado Springs Estate Planning Council, and the Purposeful Planning Institute. Beyond her legal expertise, Catherine provides transformational coaching to support clients and their families through life transitions.

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