Writing a Letter of Intent
The Letter of Intent (LOI) outlines information on daily needs, supports, and legal and financial matters of a person with an intellectual or developmental disability (I/DD). The LOI should communicate the family and person’s intentions for the future. It serves as a good resource during times of transition.
This document should be updated at least once a year to reflect changes in the person’s current situation and goals for the future. The LOI serves to keep everyone in the support network informed on what the person with I/DD needs and wants. The LOI can also be used to supplement a parent’s will. However, the letter of intent is not a legally binding document.
The LOI is a good first step in person-centered planning. It’s a way to create a path forward to develop legal and financial arrangements and ensures that the person with I/DD is living life as independently as possible. The LOI also provides easy access to relevant information in an emergency.
Who can be involved?
- Person with I/DD
- Other family members and close friends
- Disability, legal, and financial professionals
- Doctors and other medical professionals
- Clergy and other faith leaders
What to include
- Family contact information
- Highlights of the people, things, events, etc. most important in the life of the person with I/DD
- History of and current activities (education, jobs, social, and volunteer)
- Medical care information and medication taken on a regular basis
- Plans for housing
- Daily support needs and activities
- Legal and financial plans
- Support network that helps with decision-making or a guardian, if necessary
- Behavior strategies and guidance on ways to support the person emotionally
- Family traditions, including faith traditions
- Recreational interests and community involvement
- Individual’s goals for the future
A Path Forward
Remember to review the letter of intent every year to check if anything needs to be changed. As the person with I/DD ages, support needs may change. Developments in the lives of other family members and friends may require that support roles be modified. Now it’s time to move forward in planning.