Letter of instruction

Letter of instruction
See also

Letter of instruction in the literature has at least three contexts: legal context as testamentary letter or side letter [1], secondly it is used in transportation as shipper's letter of instruction (SLI) [2] and also it is possible to create it for medical purposes [3].

Letter of instruction - legal perspective[edit]

In the literature letter of instruction is most often related to legal actions. In this context it is called also testamentary letter or side letter. It is an informal and private document[4]. Letter of instruction is written by testator in order to accompany a will. It gives detailed information which is not part of will letter, but follows it. Such document can be addressed not only to the family, but also to the lawyer or bank. Crucial parts of the letter are[5]:

  • bonds,
  • bank books,
  • birth,
  • check books,
  • deeds,
  • deposits,
  • expression of last wishes,
  • income tax returns,
  • insurance policies,
  • inventory of household,
  • investment accounts,
  • list of the names and addresses of people that should be notified,
  • marriage certificates,
  • military records,
  • notarial acts,
  • other essential financial documentation,
  • shares certificates,
  • stock certificates,
  • titles,
  • will.

Letter of instruction - transport perspective[edit]

Second meaning of letter of instruction is related to transport and then letter is called shipper's letter of instruction (SLI). Its goal is to convey instructions to freight forwarder about how and when export should be done, also to manifest the merchandise. It is letter used just before shipper's export declaration (SED). It should give the following information [6] [7] [8]:

  • booking number,
  • cargo details,
  • date of dispatching the shipment,
  • description of merchandise,
  • destination country,
  • electronic export information,
  • expiration dates,
  • export licence,
  • gross weight,
  • hazardous materials,
  • incoterms,
  • insurance number,
  • intermediate consignee,
  • licence numbers,
  • marks and other numbers,
  • name and address of consignee,
  • name and address of shipper,
  • point of origin,
  • shipment type (pallet or other),
  • shipper's references,
  • shipping instructions,
  • tax numbers,
  • total shipment value.


  1. Brown, G. Myers S. (2008), p. 173-174, 587
  2. Reynolds F. (2003), p. 226
  3. Archives of disease in childhood (1997)
  4. (access: 2019), PauleyFinancial
  5. Brown, G. Myers S. (2008), p. 173-174, 587
  6. Reynolds F. (2003), p. 226
  7. McNicholas M. (2016), p. 65-68
  8. Shipper's Letter of instruction (2015)


  • Brown, G. Myers S. (2008), Administration of Wills, Trusts, and Estate The West Legal Studies series, Cengage Learning
  • Final letter of instruction , (access: 2019), PauleyFinancial
  • McNicholas M. (2016), Maritime Security: An Introduction, Butterworth-Heinemann
  • Shipper's Letter of instruction , (2015), DB Schenker
  • Archives of disease in childhood , (1997), in "The Journal of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health 1997, 76"
  • Reynolds F. (2003), Managing Exports: Navigating the Complex Rules, Controls, Barriers, and Laws, John Wiley & Sons

Author: Weronika Włodarska, Anna Piechnik