Letter of IntentWhat You Do When you Make an Estate Plan, Part 2

Here are descriptions of the elements that make up your estate plan.

Letter of Intent

This document becomes part of the special needs trust. It is not a legal document. You write it to the person who will care for your child when you are unable to or after your death. Its purpose is to explain in detail the care you lovingly give now to your child so the caregiver can later walk in your shoes as best as possible. Since the nature of your child’s care changes over the years, you need to update your letter of intent each year.

What to Include in the Letter of Intent

In a way this letter is the story of your child’s life. It covers the range of care you provide your child day after day: personal (includes emotional, intellectual, spiritual), medical, financial, educational, career, and legal. Here are some categories to think about as a way to get you started in writing your letter of intent.


  • Name, date of birth, social security number, 
  • and address (if different than your own).
  • Your child’s abilities and talents.
  • The things that make your child happy, 
  • or sad.
  • What causes bad behavior.
  • How to correct it.
  • The people your child loves.
  • The people who love and care for
    your child the most.
  • Your child’s dreams and hopes for the future.
  • Your dreams and hopes for your child’s future.
  • A detailed description of how you care for 
  • your child’s emotional and spiritual health.

Health & Medical

  • A detailed description of:
  •      • Your child’s disability.
         • How you care for your child’s
         physical health.
         • Your child’s mental health care needs.
  • A list of:
  •      • Medications your child takes
         and contact information for the
         pharmacy you work with.
         • Your child’s doctors, specialists,
         and other health care providers
         and their contact information.
  •      • The treatments your child needs.
  • Lab, x-ray, MRI, etc. results.
  • Your child’s vital information: weight,
    blood type, blood pressure.
  • The types of health care plans
    that cover your child’s medical expenses.
  • Assistive technology used now and
    anticipated to use in the future.


  • Information on your child’s government 
    benefits that affect his or her 
    financial well-being.
  • Your financial advisor or trusted friend
    who handles your child’s financial matters.
  • Professionals who help handle your child’s 
    affairs: financial advisor, attorney, trustee,
     power of attorney, accountant.
  • The aspects of your estate plan 
    that involve your child.
  • A vision of your child’s financial care


  • Academic strengths and weaknesses.
  • Details about your child’s Individual Education Plan (IEP)
  • and the team responsible for implementing it.
  • The level of your child’s involvement 
    in developing the IEP.
  • The level of your child’s involvement that 
    you know your child needs take responsibility for.
  • How you encourage your child’s 
    progress through school.
  • Details on getting to and from 
    school and after-school activities.
  • Classmates your child really likes, or not.
  • Teachers your child really likes, or not.
  • What about school gets your child excited,
    or frustrated.
  • Details about college plans on all levels: 
    planning for college, funding it, and 
    academic interests.


  • Your child’s career aspirations or dreams on 
  • what he or she wants to be upon “growing up.”
  • How far along your child is in meeting 
  • career goals.
  • Challenges to be met in getting to 
  • and from work.
  • On-the-job challenges.
  • Who your child consults 
  • for career advice.



  • Any legal paperwork that is not part of the categories above.