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Preparing a Letter of Intent for Your Minor Child’s Future Care

Posted by James Burns | Apr 27, 2024 | 0 Comments

When planning for the future care of a child, especially one with special needs, a letter of intent is an indispensable tool. According to a survey by The Arc, only 12% of parents with special needs children have a plan in place for long-term care. This alarming statistic underscores the critical need for more families to take proactive steps in planning for their child's future.

What is a Letter of Intent?

A letter of intent (LOI) for your child's care is a comprehensive document that provides future caregivers with the necessary information to care for your child in the event you are unable to do so. It's not legally binding but serves as a crucial guide, detailing everything from daily routines to specific medical needs, educational requirements, and even your child's likes and dislikes.

A letter of intent is a versatile document that can serve multiple purposes, not only for families of children with special needs. While it is particularly beneficial in those situations because it can detail specific care requirements and routines that are crucial for a child's well-being, the concept can be broadly applied to any situation where parents want to provide guidance for the care of their children in the event of their incapacity or death.

For parents in general, a letter of intent can act as an important part of estate planning. It helps communicate their wishes regarding the upbringing, education, and care of their children to guardians, relatives, or any future caregivers. This might include instructions on educational preferences, religious upbringing, cultural values, or even personal anecdotes and family traditions that parents hope to see continued.

The letter can be especially useful in situations where the parents are no longer available to provide direct care due to unforeseen circumstances like accidents or illness. By providing detailed instructions and preferences, the letter helps ensure that the child's future guardian has a clear understanding of the parents' wishes, which can be instrumental in maintaining stability and continuity in the child's life.

Sections of a Letter of Intent

1. Basic Information and Daily Routines

  • Actionable Tip: Start by detailing your child's daily schedule, including mealtimes, medical routines, and preferred activities. This helps maintain a sense of normalcy and stability.


  • Mistake to Avoid: Do not overlook the inclusion of contact information for doctors, therapists, and other care providers, which are critical in emergencies.


  • Example: For instance, if your child, Emily, requires medication at specific times, list these clearly with dosages and administering instructions to avoid any confusion.
  • Mention her favorite activities like puzzles or music time, which are essential for her emotional well-being.


  • Example: "John wakes at 7 AM and has breakfast by 7:30. He takes his allergy medication with his breakfast. His favorite morning activity is drawing, which calms him before school. His pediatrician, Dr. Lee, can be reached at 555-0100."



2. Medical Information

  • Actionable Tip: Include a comprehensive medical history and a list of ongoing treatments and medications.


  • Mistake to Avoid: Failing to update the medical section regularly as treatments or medications change can lead to outdated care instructions.


  • Example: Suppose your son, Mark, was recently diagnosed with epilepsy; updating the LOI to include his new medication and any seizure triggers is crucial.


  • Example: "Sara has asthma and requires Albuterol before physical activities. Her latest spirometry was on March 1st, showing improved lung function. Note that her emergency contact is her pulmonologist, Dr. Smith, at 555-0200."


3. Educational and Developmental Information


  • Actionable Tip: Describe your child's educational history, current setup, and any individual education plans (IEPs).


  • Mistake to Avoid: Neglect to provide details about what has and hasn't worked in past educational strategies.


  • Example: If your daughter, Lucy, thrives in a small classroom setting and struggles with large groups, this should be clearly documented.


  • Example: "Emma is currently in a third-grade class with 12 students, which suits her learning style best. She uses a specialized math tutoring program, which has helped improve her grades. Her teacher, Ms. Jones, has details of her IEP and can be contacted at 555-0300."


4. Financial Information


  • Actionable Tip: Outline any financial provisions made for your child, such as trusts or government assistance they receive.


  • Mistake to Avoid: Avoid vague financial details. Be specific about how funds should be used for your child's care.


  • Example: Detail how the special needs trust set up for your son, Alex, is structured to cover his living expenses and education.


  • Example: "A trust fund is set up in the name of Lucas with the City Bank (Account No. 123456), managed by his uncle, Mr. Carter. The funds are earmarked specifically for educational expenses and healthcare needs. Mr. Carter's contact is 555-0400."


5. Future Wishes and Additional Instructions


  • Actionable Tip: Express any specific wishes regarding the upbringing of your child, including religious practices, dietary preferences, or personal care wishes.


  • Mistake to Avoid: Do not be ambiguous about your future wishes; clarity is key.


  • Example: You might specify that your child, Noah, should visit his grandparents at least once a month as this is crucial for his emotional well-being.


  • Example: "Mia visits her grandparents on the first Sunday of every month, maintaining strong family ties. She follows a vegetarian diet and should not be given any meat products. Her social activities should include swimming classes, which she thoroughly enjoys. Contact details for her grandparents and swim instructor are included."


Sample Letter of Intent

Below is a brief excerpt of what a letter of intent might look like:


Daily Routine:

John wakes up at 7 AM each day and follows a structured routine that includes breakfast at 7:30 AM, followed by school. He requires assistance with dressing and transportation. John prefers quiet mornings and enjoys reading before heading to school.

Medical Information:

John has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and requires the following medications: Zoloft 50 mg daily. It's crucial to administer his medication after breakfast to avoid nausea, as per his pediatrician's advice.

Future Wishes:

It is my wish that John continues to attend therapy sessions at least twice a week. He has shown significant improvements with this routine, and it is vital for his social and emotional development.

Please use this letter as a guide to understanding John's needs and preferences.


[Your Signature]

[Your Printed Name]


Creating a detailed Letter of Intent is a significant step in ensuring the continuous care and happiness of your child under unforeseen circumstances. This document acts as a crucial guideline for future caregivers, enabling them to provide care that aligns closely with your wishes and provides continuity in your child's life. For more personalized guidance and professional legal assistance, do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of James Burns at (949) 305-8642 or visit With over 24 years of experience in family law and estate planning, James Burns is dedicated to helping families secure their children's futures.

Disclaimer: The sample letter of intent provided herein is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. The use of this template or any provided information is solely at your own risk. The details and circumstances of each individual situation can vary significantly, and it is recommended to seek the advice of a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction to ensure that your specific needs and legal requirements are fully met. The Law Office of James Burns does not assume any liability for any personal, family, or legal issues that may arise from the use of this sample. Always consult with a professional for specialized legal advice.

About the Author

James Burns

Estate Planning, Asset Protection, Business and Real Estate Transactions, nutraceutical Law and franchising:


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