If you are a parent of a disabled adult, you probably worry a lot about your child’s future. You may well worry about what will happen to your child if you pass away. On of the documents that you can put together, to help ease the worry a bit, is a Letter of Intent. It is not a legal document. It is a document, though, that lays out what someone else needs to know about your child. Although it may be very emotionally draining to put something like this Letter in place, it will be so greatly appreciated and very much in your child’s best interest.
Many of the topics have 2 parts. First, where Jacob is now in his life. This is more concrete because it is happening now. Second, what your hopes are for Jacob in the future. This part can include hopes and dreams, as well as practical pointers.
Let’s name your child Jacob for purposes of this conversation. Let’s assume Jacob is currently 22. Here are some of the things that should be in a Letter of Intent regarding Jacob.
- General overview of Jacob’s life up until now and your general feelings about what type of future you envision for Jacob.
- As much information as you can put down regarding Jacob’s medical history, medical needs, future needs. Include your knowledge about Jacob’s diagnoses that you have collected over the years. Educate others who will be caring for Jacob and looking after him. You can’t have too much information in this section.
- If relevant, what educational opportunities you foresee in Jacob’s future, if any. Perhaps add a summary of Jacob’s educational opportunities up until this point.
- If relevant, what employment has Jacob had? Do you picture him being employed in the future? What types of job skills does Jacob have? What types of jobs do you see him being able to do successfully? Has Jacob had any type of vocational training?
- If relevant, what type of social environment is best for Jacob? What types of relationships does he have with family members, friends, teachers, service providers and others?
- Where do you picture Jacob living if you pass away? Describe the best type of environment for him—with relatives, group home, etc.
- What are Jacob’s likes and dislikes—from whether he likes to be touched, to what foods are his favorites, to what are major treats for him.
- Is it important to you that Jacob be affiliated with a religious congregation, take part in religious rituals, etc.?
a. Final arrangements when Jacob passes away.
b. Names and phone numbers of key people in Jacob’s life.
c. List of service providers providing services to Jacob.
d. Where to find your guardianship documents and estate planning documents.