A Memorandum of Directions (MOD) can be an essential estate planning tool. Sometimes referred to as a ‘Letter of Wishes’, MODs provide trustees with guidance about the preferred administration of your estate.

IS THE MOD LEGALLY BINDING?

A MoD gives flexibility to allow for changes in circumstances, without having to update the will. MoDs are however generally only morally, not legally, binding and therefore they do not change the provisions of a will.

WHAT MATTERS SHOULD I INCLUDE IN MY MOD?

MoDs can cover the fundamental issues that arise when implementing an estate plan. They provide practical context to the legal documentation, including directions about issues such as:

• treatment of various assets and future investment activity;

• provision for specific beneficiaries of the estate (for example, children, grandchildren, other relatives, including in relation to people who may be disappointed with the way the estate has been distributed);

• personal wishes such as guardianship of minor children; 

• jewellery, items of personal or sentimental value and items of collection;

• funeral arrangements and organ donation;

• any notifications (digital or otherwise) that the trustees are to make following death;

• key people the trustees should work with, including preferred advisers;

• insurance details; and

• passwords, security boxes and other sensitive information.

For a printable version of this information, refer to the attached flyer.

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