A "Letter of Instruction" may be made to go along with your will to dictate how your assets will be distributed and to pass along any messages and directions you have about your estate and your funeral. It provides a current inventory of your assets (which your will does not do), describes your funeral arrangement, and outlines any other wishes you want to pass along. It also tells survivors where to find important papers and assets so that nothing will be overlooked in settling your estate.
In your "Letter of Instruction," provide for your survivors a list of things to do first: people to call (lawyer, boss, etc.), documents to retrieve, etc. Also provide information on the location of important papers, assets, real estate holdings, etc.
Your "Letter of Instruction" does not tke the place of your will. It is not legally binding, but it will make the settling of your estate easier for your survivors. Make sure that the appropriate people know the location of you "Letter of Instruction," and be sure to keep up to date by revising it frequently.
Revise the letter a minimum of once a year, but preferably when any significant change occurs: when you purchase a new car or when you have another child, for instance.