It is of utmost important that parents of special needs children have their Wills, Trusts & Letter of Wishes tied together. To help you complete your Letter of Wishes, I have written the following article.
What is a Letter of Wishes?
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, the following areas need to be included in your Letter of Wishes;
- Your child’s medical history.
- Living arrangements both short term and long term.
- Key people in your child’s life & relationships you want 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. I often find when getting parents to complete Financial Wellbeing Special Needs Letter of Wishes™ that they can get overwhelm and end up doing nothing.
“Thanks Allan, the letter of wishes has really tied it all together and I feel so much better now about Owen’s future” – Neil Maher
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 Special Needs 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. Finally you must also present this document to your solicitor to ensure it aligns with your Will.
Financial Wellbeing – creating brighter financial futures for special people.
This article was prepared by Allan Cuthbert, a Financial & Trust Planner. If you have a financial or Trust planning question, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 021 482 3635. For more information about special needs financial & trust planning, check out www.financialwellbeing.ie