The Importance of the Letter of Intent
No one else knows your child as well as you do, and no one ever could. You are a walking "book” of your child’s history, experiences, habits, wishes, and unique medical, behavioral and educational requirements.
What would happen if you suddenly became unable to provide your child with the necessary support he needs? Without you, your child would become dependent on other caregivers who simply do not possess all of your personal knowledge and insight. Having a Letter of Intent (LOI) will minimize any disruption and disorientation that may occur upon your death or if you become unable to care for your child during your lifetime.
The Letter of Intent is a tool to guide guardians, trustees, siblings, and others to care for your dependent child in the manner in which you and he/she desire. It contains detailed information that only a parent would know about their child’s history and personal preferences and paints a picture of the child’s life today, as well as your desires for his future.
The first very vital step in preparing for a time when you are not able to care for your child is appointing a competent and responsible legal guardian for any child who is not expected to be able to manage personal, financial, or medical decisions without assistance. If you do not have a will, or have not appointed a legal guardian for your child, make this step an immediate priority.
One guardianship is secured, you should prepare a Letter of Intent to help loved ones and your child manage this difficult life transition and care for your child in the manner you would most desire. In writing the Letter of Intent, it’s important to sort out one’s feelings and define exact expectations for things such as education, employment, housing, faith, and community life, when thinking about your child’s future. Your child is unique, and this document will be as unique as she is.
Although a letter of intent is one of the most important estate planning documents a parent can prepare, this is not a formal legal document. However, a thoughtful letter of intent ensures that those who come after you don’t waste precious time trying to figure out the best way to manage and care for your child.
Although it may seem intimidating, completing a Letter of Intent is a crucial step in assuring the care and future wellbeing of your child. DSAA can help you prepare the document if you need more guidance. Just take it one step at a time, but do get started. It is an important safeguard for your child and family.