When you have a child with a disability or special health care needs, answering the question of what will happen to them if you are not able to take care of them is very important.
You can get powers of attorney, designate a guardian if needed, and take care of money and property through a will or special needs trust. But, what about your child’s everyday care? What about their school needs? What about the medications and medical procedures they need?
You know so much about your child’s unique needs, likes, and dislikes that you sometimes take care of them without even thinking. Imagine if everyone else who took care of them knew these things just as easily.
That’s the purpose of a Letter of Intent, often called an LOI.
An LOI is a document that serves as a life plan for your child. It helps to properly direct their overall care, if you aren’t around to oversee things. Even though you don’t use a lawyer to write this letter, and it doesn’t need to be notarized, the court might use it to direct a future caregiver. And a medical team might use it to make their decisions. When you combine an LOI with your other legal documents, as well as a will and a special needs trust, you have a set of tools to make sure your child is taken care of even if you aren’t around or able to.
The LOI should describe everything involved in taking care of your child. It might cover these areas:
Creating an LOI might seem like a lot of work at first.
But, the good news is that you don’t have to put it together in a single sitting. An LOI should be a living document that changes as your child’s development, desires, needs, abilities, and caregivers change. That means you can take your time to create each part of the plan and update it when needed.
Once you’ve written the LOI, take a deep breath and congratulate yourself! Here are some tips to get the most use out of it:
A personal network can offer your child a group of people who are familiar with many of the important things in a LOI document. To learn more, see our page on Personal Networks.