“Thought for the Day” #900 – by Stephen R. Elville, J.D., LL.M.

February 7, 2017

What should be included in a Memorandum of Intent for a child with special needs?  While the scope and nature of information will vary from one family to another, certain details should be included in any Memorandum.  The document identifies individuals and organizations that should be contacted upon parents’ deaths or incapacity, provides the child’s name and date of birth, lists doctors, therapists, schools and extracurricular programs, details medical and therapeutic treatments and explains preferences regarding education, religion and childrearing practices.  Given the complexity of providing a future caregiver with an immediate “feel” for the child, you may wish to use a “Miscellaneous Instructions” section to offer more general information.  This may include your child’s personal history, degree of independence or mobility, behavioral issues and need for assistive technologies.  It also may cover hobbies, interests or unique personality traits.  For example, if your child has a great sense of humor, is especially kind or shows a talent for painting, you might wish to share that information.  This section also can be used to describe your wishes regarding living arrangements, education and work or career goals.  Finally, it may be used to identify the location of medical records and other important documents that future caregivers will need to assure continuity of care.