No one else knows your child as well as you do, and no one ever could. You’re a walking encyclopedia of his or her habits, needs, and wishes. When your child has special needs, though, there’s an additional chapter, detailing medical, behavioral, and educational requirements.
So what happens if you suddenly aren’t there? First and foremost, you should name a guardian, but a memorandum of intent will be crucial in helping that individual (or Successor Trustee of an SNT) minimize disruption and disorientation for your loved one. A skilled Florida estate planning attorney will advise that this memorandum should include a description of your child’s disabilities and medical history, including all medications and dietary needs. List key contacts, educational details, and his or her schedule of therapy and other services—all the instructions necessary for day-to-day life.
The memorandum of intent should detail family history, capturing those little things that only close relatives understand: daily schedule, favorite activities, things he or she loves or hates, living arrangements that work or don’t…there’s no detail too small to ease the transition.
Because levels of disability vary, and because many people fail to recognize that, it’s important to include a list of daily activities. The ability to contribute to family life builds self-esteem, so if your child can help with the dishes, put it in the memorandum. If he or she loves to clear the table, mention that. If folding clothes frustrates him or her, it’s important that future caretakers have this information upfront.
Does your adult child have a job? Does he or she want one? What type of work can he or she be successful at? Is college an option? How did you plan to pay for it? These are all questions that emerge eventually in the life of a person with special needs, and although you certainly plan to be there to help answer them, it’s important that you address them beforehand, for your child’s sake.