National Alliance on Mental Illness
page printed from
(800) 950-NAMI;

The Life Planning Workbook--A Hands-on Guide to Help Parents Provide for the Future Security and Happiness of Their Child with a Disability After Their Death

by L. Mark Russell and Arnold E. Grant.

American Publishing Company, PO Box 988, Evanston, IL 30204
Call 1-800-247-6553 to order; also available is a companion publication, Planning for the Future.
Review by William Zaccagnino for the NAMI Literature Committee.

This book is a hands-on guide to help parents provide for the future security and happiness of their child with a disability after their death. In fact, it is also a guide for spouses, siblings, or others who feel a responsibility to provide for a disabled person in their estate. The book provides excellent service to all of these people.

Life Planning is very well written. The authors ask the relevant questions and give good answers to clarify where there may be doubt. The details included ensure that the parent or other person filling out the workbook--and those who will later use the information--can have reasonable comfort in dealing with the comprehensive array of issues that are a part of life.

The workbook provides the means to develop a letter of intent, perform a financial-needs analysis, prepare for a meeting with an attorney, and organize an estate plan. It even provides a more advanced section for financial professionals to help them understand the approaches taken by the authors in the various tables included in the book. Together, these sections provide a comprehensive collection of information covering the medical records, life habits, financial needs, and personal relationships that are relevant to the disabled person's life and to parents, siblings, and his or her children. The authors avoid assumptions: not every sibling will want the responsibility of caring for a disabled brother or sister; every medicine doesn't work for everyone; and every therapist is not right for everyone.

It is important to note, which the authors do, that the book is not a substitute for formal legal or financial preparation by professionals. The information collected by the reader needs to be assembled into documents that will stand a legal test. However, the book can serve as a vehicle for the reader to think about the many details of the process, assemble the information in one place, and be fully confident that when he or she visits the professionals, the information will be at hand and the resulting legal documents can be held in similar confidence.

This workbook is an excellent tool for parents or others responsible for a disabled person to provide some assurance for that person's future security. It is also an excellent companion publication to Planning for the Future (also authored by L. Mark Russell, and currently on the NAMI sales list).