A Letter of Wishes is a document outlining your dreams and aspiration for your son/daughter with special needs when you have passed away. It is not a legally binding document, unlike your Will. However, it does provide valuable information that can help the next caregivers understand what he/she can do to improve the quality of your child’s life.
Nobody knows or understands your child better than you and it is vital that you pass on this knowledge to your child’s Guardians and Trustees.
When starting to write your Letter of Wishes, it can be overwhelming in trying to cover all the bases. To help you, I have listed a few of the areas that I focused on when writing David’s Letter of Wishes;
- Child’s education needs
- Living arrangements both short term and long term
- Key people in your child’s life & relationships you want to be nurtured
- Information on current & future entitlement for your child
- Information on your Special Needs Trust
- Instructions for the Trustee in the proper use of money left in the Trust
- Guidance on what to do when circumstances change
But most importantly document your child’s passions, joys, hobbies & your future aspiration for your child’s life.
The key to writing a good Letter of Wishes is to START IT!
I am not trying to be smart when I say this because I know. I tried to start David’s Letter of Wishes around 5-times and kept getting overwhelmed and end up doing nothing before I eventually got the courage to start typing. Once I started it then I felt empowered and stronger in myself for doing this.
I hear similar stories all the time when Allan helps parents to complete Financial Wellbeing’s Letter of Wishes™.
It is not easy and nobody likes to think about how their son or daughter will cope when their parents are not around but it is vital you finished your first draft. That is the hard part and all you have to do is keep adding to it as time goes by.
It is important you don’t keep your Letter of Wishes a secret, share it with your family and sit down with your nominated Guardians & Trustees and have a frank conversation around the future. You need to send a copy of this document to your solicitor to ensure it aligns with your Will.
It is also very important that you regularly review your Letter of Wishes and update it as circumstances change. It is of utmost importance that parents of special needs children have their Wills, Trusts & Letter of Wishes tied together.