Step 1 – Caregiver Instructions

Life Plan Builder Step 1 – Caregiver Instructions

Your Caregiver Instructions (also called a Letter of Intent or Letter of Instructions) are simply the most important part of your Life Plan.  It includes a series of instructions for someone to follow in case of an emergency, a sudden incapacitation, or an untimely death.  As the primary caregiver for your Special Needs loved one, you are aware of all the intimate details regarding that person.  If something should happen to you, the Caregiver Instructions are designed as a written a set of instructions so someone can quickly and easily step into your shoes.  This letter should include your wishes and desires for your loved one, along with clear guidance on how to take care of your Special Needs individual.

Caregiver Instructions Questions

The Caregiver Instructions are intended to be a guide for the future care of your Special Needs loved one.  They are prepared by you, contain all the pertinent personal, support, and medical details you want to be known, and answer the basic questions a future caregiver would ask.  The instructions are for anyone and everyone that may be a part of your loved one’s life.  You should provide as much detail as possible, because these instructions will be used when you are no longer around or you are unable to participate in the care of your Special Needs loved one.  They will provide important clues for making decisions about medical care, lifestyle, preferred residence, and traditional values that you would want to support.

Please note that the Caregiver Instructions is not a legal document and WILL NOT change, alter, or update your current legal documents (Last Testament & Will, Trusts, Powers of Attorney, etc).  If you need to make a change to your legal documents to reflect your desires, please contact your estate attorney directly.

Follow this checklist to complete Step 1:

  • Print the Step 1 Cover Sheet for your binder
  • Create your Caregiver Instructions
    1. Option 1 – Open the Caregiver Instructions Adobe PDF version, print, and fill in the blanks with a pen.
    2. Option 2 – Open the Caregiver Instructions Microsoft Word DOC version, complete the appropriate sections, save it to your computer, and then print out a copy for your binder.
    3. Option 3 – Create your own unique Caregiver Instructions using this Caregiver Instructions Sample Outline as a guide.
  • Print off a copy of your completed Caregiver Instructions (make sure you sign and date your completed copy)
  • Insert a copy of your Caregiver Instructions into your binder after Tab 1.
  • For additional information on your Special Needs loved one, place a copy of the most current Guardianship and/or Conservatorship Report (if applicable) into your binder after the Caregiver Instructions.

You should review and update your Caregiver Instructions from time to time (at least annually) to be certain that it is complete, accurate, and current.  In addition, you should take the time to personally talk to the important people and professional advisors in your life about these instructions.  Building the relationship and talking about these issues will further enhance the success of your planning.  They may come up with some questions or need some clarification on some of the instructions.  So, it is a good idea to discuss it with them while you are still around.

Although the templates provided cover several topics for you to consider, it is impossible to include everything.  Your loved one and your family is unique, so your instructions should be your own.  You may find something missing that you would like to add or you may discover that you will not need to use a particular section.  That is okay… make the Caregiver Instructions your own and feel free to edit and change the available documents to suit your specific needs.

Good luck and when you are ready to proceed to the next step…
Click Here to Go to Step 2 – Personal Information.