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Elder Planning Isn't Just For The Elderly

What is a care plan?

If you have a relative with a disability for whom you are responsible, then you will need to do special needs planning along with your typical estate planning. You want to be sure your loved one has his or her care in order should something ever happen to you.

Fidelity explains one important part of the process is a care plan. This is not a formal legal document. It provides instructions and personal information that directly explains how to care for your relative.

Letter of intent

A care plan is also known as a letter of intent. Think of it as a guide to how to care for your loved one. It should provide all the details someone would need to know to step into a caregiver role for this person. You can write it however you desire since it is not a legal document and has no set rules. A good idea is to work on it over time. You can add or remove things as needed.


Make sure that the care plan provides enough information about care needs that someone could easily understand it without your input. You may want to include personal information about the individual who needs care, such as his or her favorite foods or nighttime ritual preferences.

In general, you want to cover his or her medical needs, daily routine and long-term goals. You can write whatever you want. Just be sure the information is clear and complete. It may help to start with the daily schedule and work from there, adding in information as you think about it. The creation can be a process that occurs over time and includes many details. Remember this plan is something someone else will use to understand how to care for your loved one.

Having a care plan is a good blueprint moving forward to creating the actual legal documents that will be part of the special needs plan portion of your estate plan.


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