Bye, Bye, LOI. Say Hello to the digital age with Vest.
I'll be blunt: the Special Needs Letter of Intent is a relic of a bygone era.
When you actually jump into the LOI concept, it's like going back to the future with Marty McFly.
The LOI just just doesn’t make sense in our modern world.
Wherever you go for special needs parenting advice - websites, blogs, Facebook, Youtube, Linkedin - the LOI is there.
But a MetLife survey found that 84% of parents have not completed a Letter of Intent for their child with special needs.*
So when a vast majority of special needs parents never do a LOI, why are advisors still telling you to do one?
The problem isn't lack of effort from parents. The problem is the LOI is stuck in the past.
Whoever is telling you to do a LOI assumes that it's feasibl for you to make a list of your child's complex needs, print out that list, and keep it in a binder for others to find and follow after you die.
And then keep it updated for the rest of your life. You know how that goes.
Pretty soon that binder has taken on a life of its own; a complex array of information decipherable only by you.
When I stopped telling parents to do a Letter of Intent
During my 25 years as a special need attorney, I have worked with only one parent who actually completed a Letter of Intent.
She showed me her 15-page LOI, and asked me to shred it. Do you want to know why?
If you're a special needs parent, then you already know why:
Because things change.
That’s exactly what Sarah told me. She had written her LOI three years prior to our meeting. Her 15 year-old son’s life with autism had changed dramatically since then.
“This stuff would be the worst thing if someone were to read it today. Things are so different for him now.”
And Sarah wouldn’t leave my office until after watching me feed her LOI through the shredder.
That's when I decided that there must be a better way for Sarah and millions of other parents just like her.
A Fresh Approach for Solving a Compelling Need
As a special needs planner, I keenly appreciate the incredible dedication and effort of parents who have actually completed a LOI for their child.
I have witnessed the turmoil and tears and hard work needed to build effective transition plans for their child.
I'm not saying that parents shouldn't leave guidance for their child’s future care. The original concept of a “Letter of Intent” was meant to serve exactly that purpose.
But as I witnessed parents navigate the dynamic landscape of life with special needs, it became evident that the static nature of the LOI presents unsovable obstacles to keeping pace with their child’s evolving needs.
As life unfolds, even the most thoughtfully crafted LOI can quickly become outdated.
Your child's life is not a list.
The true origin of the special needs Letter of Intent goes back to eras past, before computers, digital files, and the cloud.
Back in the 70s, when the idea of the LOI was first introduced, we lived in the typewriter era. No computers, no email, no digital files, no cloud.
Attorneys would complete the special needs trust, and then say “you better make a list” so others will know what to do for your child.
Back in the day, parents had only one option to do that - a printed out list from their typewriter, kept in a binder.
And that became what we now know as the Special Needs Letter of Intent.
Good advice in the 70s. Not so much today.
But still, Special Needs Advisors everywhere are telling parents they need to download a Letter of Intent form. Fill it in. Print it out. Problem solved.
The thing is, your child’s life is not a list.
Every life has a story. Dynamic complexity from day to day is the norm. It’s no different for your child with special needs.
Your child's personality, preferences, patterns, moods, likes, dislikes, things that work well, things that don’t work, medications, allergies, seizures, limtations, capabilities, hopes and dreams.
Trying to capture your child’s dynamic life in a static LOI is an impossible task.
The information you fill in on a LOI today will certainly change tomorrow.
And constantly returning to your LOI pdf form filler - for the rest of your life - isn’t a realistic plan.
How will others find your LOI when needed? Where is that binder? Will the information be current? Understandable? Transferable? When you are 80?
And that’s why I created Vest.
Bye, Bye LOI. Say Hello to the digital age with Vest.
Vest is a fresh approach for managing special needs information. It's not just another list-maker.
Vest is like a brain-friendly copilot for navigating life with a child who has special needs.
Vest gives you a user-friendly digital dashboard to collect, update, instantly access, and safely share key information for your child’s lifetime care and well-being.
With Vest, you now have one place to manage all of your child's key information, at your fingertips, when you need it, wherever you happen to be.
Welcome to the digital age with Vest!
Sign up here for your Free Trial. No credit card.
Michael Pearce, Founder of Vest