Writing a Memorandum of Intent for a Special Needs Child

How can you ensure that your special needs child will remain well cared for and secure once others assume the role of guardian or caregiver? While creating a financial plan and establishing a specialized trust are central to preparing for your child’s future, special needs planners also advise families to write down their intentions and expectations in a document referred to as a Memorandum of Intent or Letter of Intent.

The Memorandum is not legally binding and, when directions conflict, those in wills, trusts and other legal documents take precedence. But for “non-legal” matters, it will serve as the primary source of information about your child, providing a roadmap for the courts, guardians, caregivers and others involved in your child’s life. That can be critical in easing your child’s transition, ensuring continuity of care and treatment, as well as appropriate decision making regarding living arrangements and other lifestyle choices.

Topics that can be included in a Memorandum, include the following:

– Individuals and organizations that should be contacted upon your death or incapacity
– Your child’s health care and therapeutic needs
– Your preferences for education, religion, and child-rearing practices
– Contact information for doctors, therapists and teachers
– Your child’s personal history, degree of independence or mobility, behavioral issues, and need for assistive technologies
– Your child’s interests and personality traits
– The location of medical records and other important documents.

While writing a Memorandum of Intent can be time-consuming and emotionally taxing, it’s very important not to postpone this task. Once the Memorandum is complete, place the original in a secure location and distribute copies to others involved in your child’s life. Then, mark your calendar, setting aside time to revise the Memorandum at least once a year so it will continue to reflect your child’s current life stage and situation.

The Farr Law Firm can help your family with drafting an appropriate Memorandum of Intent, and also with drafting appropriate Wills, Trusts and other legal documents needed by parents of children with special needs.

Please click here for a guide entitled, “How to Write a Memorandum of Intent” from the Academy of Special Needs Planners.

For further information about a Special Needs Planning, click here.

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About Evan H Farr, CELA, CAP

Evan H. Farr is a 4-time Best-Selling author in the field of Elder Law and Estate Planning. In addition to being one of approximately 500 Certified Elder Law Attorneys in the Country, Evan is one of approximately 100 members of the Council of Advanced Practitioners of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is a Charter Member of the Academy of Special Needs Planners.