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Article of Interest - Future Planning

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Free Downloadable Letter of Intent Form – An 88 Item Checklist Showing Parents How to Communicate their Wishes and Knowledge about their Son or Daughter with a Disability to Future Caregivers

Attorney L. Mark Russell, co-author of the book, Planning For The Future: Providing a Meaningful Life for a Child with a Disability After Your Death

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Download this information in PDF format here.


How can you, as a parent, be assured that your son or daughter will lead as complete a life as possible after your death? What can you do to make sure your hopes and aspirations are realized?

Writing a letter of intent is a critical step in the planning process. This critical document permits parents to communicate vital information about their son or daughter to future caregivers.

Parents, you are the experts on your child. You receive a lot of important advice from professionals, but no one understands your son or daughter’s needs and desires better than you. If you become incapacitated or die, it is vital that future caregivers have access to your knowledge.

Future caregivers might be relatives, friends, or professionals – anyone who will care for your child when you are no longer able. Do these people know

· all the pertinent information about your child’s medical history?

· the names, addresses, and phone numbers of all the professionals who serve your son or daughter?

· the names of professionals who you think should be avoided?

· where you would like your child to live, or even if you don’t know exactly, the type of place that should be considered?

· the recreational activities that make your son or daughter happiest?

· the type of work, if any, that your son or daughter should do?

· and all the other information necessary to care for your son or daughter?

For instance, one mother wrote in her Letter of Intent for her 9-year-old son with a seizure disorder, “Don’t forget that my child only takes his medication with cherry Jell-O.” See how vital it is to put this kind of information in a letter to future caregivers?

Alex Haley, the American biographer and author once said, “When an old person dies, it’s like a library burning.” Parents, you have spent a lifetime advocating for your child and becoming an expert on his or her needs. Don’t let that expertise perish when you die or become incapacitated. Write your knowledge and wishes for your son or daughter in a Letter of Intent.

To help you with writing your Letter of Intent, I am providing a free downloadable (PDF) Letter of Intent Form – an 88-item checklist that comes straight from our book, Planning For The Future.

A word about me. My name is L. Mark Russell. I am an attorney and have spent 25 years helping parents plan for the future well-being of their son or daughter with a disability. I also have a brother with a disability. My father wrote in his Letter of Intent all kinds of helpful information (big stuff and little stuff) for me to remember to help make Jon’s life better– that I should take him to Nashville every July for his birthday (he loves country and western music), residential admission information, that Jon should be within walking distance to a church since Jon doesn’t use public transportation, that Jon should have only one roommate instead of three, the type of prescription mouthwash he uses, and several more pages of vital information.


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