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Book Review: Direction Memo™: How to Write a Letter of Instructions for Your Estate Plan by Paul M. Casperse

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Direction Memo™ is a trademarked name given to a letter of instructions a person leaves for his loved ones that expresses his wishes for what should be done when he dies or becomes incapacitated.

This book is divided into three sections: informational, financial, and personal. The informational chapters cover topics such as naming a trustee and composing estate documents. The financial section provides information on real estate, savings, investments, and personal property. The personal section is probably the hardest to complete because it entails actually planning your final arrangements.

At the back of the book is a workbook with exercises that correspond with the lessons presented in each chapter. It asks specific questions and encourages the reader to locate documents that will be needed for estate planning.

Implementing the tools provided in this book will help the reader obtain peace of mind for his loved ones because stating one’s wishes in writing will relieve the survivors of the pressure of making difficult decisions during times of grief.

The advice imparted by the author seems credible, especially considering that he has a Master’s degree in Financial Planning. He explains the legal terms in ways that are fairly easy to understand. But unless someone is willing to thoroughly research state laws on a variety of topics, a lawyer should be included during the planning.

This book can be very helpful for people who want guidance in making the transition for their loved ones easier after they die. It is important to note that a Direction Memo™ is NOT legally binding. Therefore, it seems that it would be easier to complete the required legal documents first and then condense that information into directions for loved ones to follow.

The greatest use of this book is that once the workbook is completed, it will be easy to update, which is something the author recommends doing every two years.

Reading this book and working through the exercises made me think about things I normally would not have considered when preparing for the future. From the obviously important things, such as choosing a guardian for minor children, to the seemingly common sense items like letting loved ones know where to locate important documents, Direction Memo™: How to Write a Letter of Instructions for Your Estate Plan provides the reader with the tools necessary to express his final wishes.

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