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"Tips for Creating a Statement of Wishes for Parents of Children with Intellectual Disabilities"

A ‘Statement of Wishes’ what is that exactly?

A child with a disability having fun with his mother and laughing

A Statement of Wishes (or also known as a Letter or Memorandum of Wishes) is an informal document. This document may accompany your executed Will. The statement provides further detail and information about your specific wishes. These could be the administration of your estate, finalisation of your affairs or any other post-death wishes.

What should you put into a Statement of Wishes?

A Statement of Wishes will typically contains detail that it is not addressed in your Will,

Such as the following:

  1. An explanation for the reasons for the decisions you’ve made in your Will, eg why you are leaving certain assets to a particular beneficiary, or you maybe excluding a particular family member from any inheritance.

  2. Instructions for the distribution of sentimental or personal items, eg specific items that may be special to you like family heirlooms, jewellery and even our beloved pets.

  3. Specific or particular requests in relation to your funeral or burial arrangements.

  4. Instructions that are directed to the relevant parental guardian on how you would like your children’s inheritance to be managed and applied, and how you would like them to be cared for and raised during their childhood eg schooling, housing, religion and values.

  5. A list of key contact information that may be useful for your Executors when they are administering your estate, eg superannuation fund, your bank account details, and keeping those document in safe custody.

Relaying Instructions for an adult child with intellectual disability

It is very important that some specific areas are expressed detailing wishes, instructions or information.

These can be:

  1. Description of your child’s disability.

  2. Personality of your child’s personality. Their quirks, individual needs and preferences.

  3. Your child’s particular vulnerabilities or challenges.

  4. Housing is very important so be specific regarding your wishes for your child’s inheritance be prioritised for their secure housing, furniture, clothing, transport, health, aids and equipment and other essentials. Your specific wishes as to where your child should live after you pass (eg, in your family home, or in a home of their own, or NDIS-funded specialist disability accommodation).

  5. Your wish as to your child’s care and support arrangements (including preferred carers or service providers)?

  6. Your wish that your child remain in contact with family members, maintain relationships with their siblings, and keep in touch with friends.

  7. Explain and list your child’s entitlement and/or arrangements with government support systems, for example their NDIS plan, Centrelink income support and Medicare supports.

  8. Description of arrangements that are in place with current disability services and support providers.

  9. Your wish that your child be taken on a holiday each year, or to keep enjoying hobbies or leisure and entertainment activities.  

  10. Details of your child’s treating Health Professionals, Medical Professionals and Therapists, list out all relevant information about their medical needs and medication.

  11. Legal Guardians: Who you prefer to be your child’s supported or substitute decision-maker, or their legal guardian or administrator (if the relevant state/territory Tribunal was to ever consider making a guardian or administrator order).

  12. Your wishes for future requirements such as your child’s end of life medical care and treatment.

Effect of Statement of Wishes

A Statement of Wishes is not legally binding, so that means it may be updated at any time, as need be. As things change in your child's life. It’s recommended however that you always keep the current version stored with your Will and previous statements also so that it can reflect any changes. Consider this document to be an important addendum to your current Will or when considering any Estate Planning needs.

Like to know more?

If you would like assistance to prepare your Will and/or Statement of Wishes, please contact Hogan Stanton Lawyers. Or give our office a call on 07 32781888

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