When making a Will, it is also possible to add a separate letter of wishes which can expand on certain clauses within your Will.
Letters of wishes act as a guide to your executors on your wishes but are not legally binding.
A clause within your Will dealing with your funeral directions often simply states whether you wish to be buried or cremated and where. In a separate letter of wishes you can go into further detail about the type of service you would want, the music to be played and instructions on your headstone. This letter can then be amended as often as you wish without the need for your Will to be amended which would incur costs.
It is sometimes necessary to set up trusts within your Will for beneficiaries who, for whatever reason, are not to benefit absolutely from you. In a letter of wishes you can give instructions to your Executors (who become the trustees of your trust) on how you would like your trust to be administered. For instance, you could ask for an annual income to be paid to a beneficiary. You can also advise on when lump sums could be released such as for the purchase of a house, wedding etc. Trust clauses in Wills specify that the trust is administering by the Trustees and do not go into more detail, by preparing a letter of wishes you can expand on your instructions.
It is sometimes the case that you do not wish to include certain people in your Will. If this is challenged in the future the courts may require more information on your reasons. You can prepare a detailed statement giving your reasons which could then be used as evidence in court.
Where you are appointing guardians in your Will for children under 18, you may wish to set out your wishes to those guardians. You could give instructions on how you would wish your children to be raised and educated.
Rather than including lists of personal items in your Will and to whom they are to pass, these can instead be included in a letter of wishes. Again, this letter can be changed as often as you like without the need for your Will to be amended. As personal possessions increase and change over time, the letter can be easily changed to reflect this.
The use of these documents prevents your Will being overly complicated and lengthy. The Will itself relates to facts and the law behind it.