You understand that your special needs child will have challenges exercising self-care when you are no longer around. With a special needs trust, you can put aside money to provide for your child’s needs. But you should do more than just establish a trust. Writing letters of instruction may help complete your plans for your child.
Kiplinger explains that a letter of instruction is not the same as a will. It is not a legal document, but a written guide for your trustee and/or the caretaker who will look after your child assuming your trustee does not take that position.
Using a letter of instruction
You can provide whatever information you feel is necessary for the caretaker to know how to care for your child. You can describe your child’s disability, laying out the ways the condition limits your child, and also include information about medicines and treatments your child needs. Your child also likely has a structured routine that your child’s future caregiver should know about.
Also describe what your child likes to do. Write down things like favorite activities and places your child likes to go. Talk about what your child likes and does not like or has fears about. If your child reacts poorly to certain words or spoken tones, be sure to include that information.
Providing contact information
You also want your child’s caregiver to know who to call if there is a problem with your child or if the caregiver just needs assistance. In a letter of instruction, you can supply contact information for people like family members, friends or doctors who can offer help. In the event your child’s caretaker cannot care for your child, you may list the name of one or more persons who can take over.
You can also take the opportunity to list information to help your caregiver with other burdens. If your special needs child lives at a house, you can name the person who cuts the grass. You may also include where you have placed important financial and medical paperwork. If necessary, you may also explain why you have made certain estate decisions. This may instill confidence if you have family members who could otherwise object to your estate plans.