Parents know their children better than anyone else. While this stands true for any parent-child relationship, it is especially applicable in families who have a child with special needs. Given the challenges that many children with disabilities face, parents may have valid concerns about what will happen to a child with special needs once they are gone. Creating a Houston special needs plan is an important step in the estate planning process that parents can take to provide themselves peace of mind, as well as provide their child with the support they need to live a long, fulfilling life.
One crucial element of a Houston special needs plan is the letter of intent. A letter of intent is simply a letter, drafted by parents, that includes vital information about their child to future caregivers. Unfortunately, letters of intent are often overlooked by parents who intend on having another family member take over the care giving role once they are gone. However, even if relatives are close with a child, they may not know all of the necessary information that a parent would hope to pass on. Further, in the event a familial caregiver passes away or becomes incapacitated themselves, vital information about the child would be lost. Thus, even if a family member is planning on assuming the caregiver’s role, a letter of intent is still important.
Letter of Intent Checklist Items:
A letter of intent should contain all vital information as well as unique information about a person that will help future caregivers better understand, interact, and care for them. The following are elements that should be contained in a letter of intent:
Familial information: Include basic information about a child’s family, including both parents’ names, as well as the names and contact information of extended family members on both sides. This section should also include the names and contact information for all siblings.
Basic information: Include basic information such as the child’s full legal name, birth date, social security number, clothing sizes, religion, gender, and race. It is also helpful to include names that a child prefers to be called by close friends as well as by strangers.
Relationship information: Include information about a child’s close friends and their support system outside the family. This may include community center employees, teachers, or other support personnel.
Legal and financial information: Include whether a special needs trust has been set up for the child, whether there is a power of attorney, and, if a child has been declared incompetent, who is named as their guardian.
Medical and dental information: Include the names of all doctors, specialists, and dentists who a child regularly sees. Also include information regarding prior hospitalizations, immunizations, required assistive devices, and medications.
The list of information that should be included in a letter of intent varies, depending on the individual and their family. Parents considering drafting a letter of intent should work with an experienced Houston special needs planning attorney to ensure that it complements other aspects of the child’s special needs plan.
Reach Out to a Dedicated Houston Special Needs Planning Attorney Today
If you have not yet created a Houston special needs plan for your child, or want to add or update the plan, contact McCulloch & Miller, PLLC. Our team of experienced attorneys has worked with clients of all backgrounds in order to set up a roadmap that best fits each family’s unique needs and requirements. The dedicated lawyers at our firm have had decades of experience handling all types of issues and understand the complexities and nuances of Texas programs and laws. To learn more about our firm, our services, and how we can help, contact us online or give us a call at 713-333-8900.