You have been with your child through every step, twist and turn of their life. Everywhere you go, you carry his or her habits and needs, wishes and plans, with you – either as a document, or in your head. If your child has special needs, these crucial details are even more important, including medical, behavioral and educational requirements.
If something were to happen to you, all that knowledge could be lost! Your child needs the support that knowledge represents, especially in the face of life’s biggest changes. A “letter of intent” can help you communicate important things about your child to any potential future caregiver, including their specific needs, abilities and interests.
A letter of intent is intended to assist those caring for your child. It is not a legal document, but having an attorney assist you with writing the document can be extremely helpful. Among other contributions, we will make sure the letter works in unison with the rest of your estate plan and assure that the letter communicates your wishes clearly and effectively.
A letter of intent should be detailed and comprehensive, containing everything that a trustee or caregiver should know to provide for your child’s special needs. This may include your hopes and desires for your child, practical advice about their preferences, and important information about their medical history.
In drafting a letter of intent, feel free to speak frankly and in careful detail. Every specific will help those caregivers step smoothly into your child’s life, avoiding the need to learn all requirements and preferences by trial and error.
No detail is too small. Because levels of disability vary, it’s important to include day-to-day specifics, not just the major documented facts, of your child’s life. The ability to contribute to family life builds self-esteem, so if your child can help with the dishes, put it in the letter. If he loves to clear the table, mention that. If folding clothes frustrates her, it’s important that future caretakers have that information up front.
A thorough letter of intent should contain the following:
If you, or a loved one has a child with special needs, and you want to assure they are always cared for should something happen – we highly recommend scheduling a consultation to discuss all your options.
You can contact us HERE to schedule a free consultation when you feel the time is right.