Life planning consultation

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PLAN|NJ guides families through the design of a comprehensive future plan – a LifePLAN — for a relative with mental challenges or with intellectual, developmental or physical disabilities. This plan encompasses the legal, financial, home and community supports that are required to help their loved one thrive.

It tells a holistic story of the individual, their support needs and preferences, housing and employment recommendations, interests, activities, hopes and wishes for the future, and those their families have for them. The document is updated regularly as needs and circumstances change to give future caregivers a full and
up–to-date understanding. We also consult with siblings and other caregivers to improve their capacity to advocate. For more information, go to Life Planning Tools.

Life planning tools

Knowing where to start can often be the most difficult aspect of planning for the future. Take advantage of these tools and fact sheets to inspire ideas, raise important questions, and help you gain control over the planning process.

Ask yourself about the support that you or a family member will most benefit from, and who in your family or community is available to assist.

After spending time reviewing these planning tools, contact PLAN|NJ at 908-575-8300 to begin developing the LifePLAN you and your loved one need.

TRUE LINK Case Study:
Crafting a Holistic, Person-Centered Life Plan to Guide Case Management and Trust Administration


New Jersey has implemented a community of practice to encourage planning for a good life.

Two useful tools are the Charting the Life Course Trajectory and the Charting the Life Course Supports Star. 

More can be found at

Critical Life Planning Questions PDF.

Frequently Asked Questions: Life Planning

“If my child has an Individual Support Plan (ISP), why does he need a LifePLAN?”

An ISP is utilized for the delivery of services by Direct Support Professionals, whereas a LifePLAN is geared toward family involvement and coordination of care.  More specifically, a LifePLAN provides direction for future caregivers regarding the individual’s goals, wishes and preferences in all areas of life, and how a family views what a good life looks like for their loved one. It includes legal, financial, home and community areas of planning.


“If I have drafted a Letter of Intent, do I need a LifePLAN?”

A Letter of Intent includes important instructions for the Guardian and conveys a parent’s wishes, but it is sometimes lacking in practical substance and detailed information necessary to advocate on an individual’s behalf.  A LifePLAN is more about integrating an individual’s needs with a parent’s wishes.


“My child’s sister knows her so well; why do we need a LifePLAN?”

A LifePLAN contains the information that can be used by any future or successor Guardian or advocate.  Many times, a sibling knows their brother or sister well, but not the systems and supports that are in place for his or her care. Furthermore, additional successor Guardians that may be in a decision-making capacity will benefit from LifePLAN information provided directly by the parents.


“If there are no residential placements being made by the Department of Developmental Disabilities (DDD), how do I plan for housing for the future?”

It is important that while your loved one is on the waitlist for residential placement you take the time to acquaint yourself with different agencies that provide residential services, perhaps through Day Program agencies that also offer residential services.  Take this time to identify the type of residential placement that would be ideal for your loved one – different types of placements could include supervised apartments or group homes which will best suit the individual’s skills and abilities.  


“Is the LifePLAN a legal document that will control who becomes the Successor Guardian and Trustee?”

No. A LifePLAN is not a legal document to designate successor Guardians or Trustees.  These roles should be designated in your Last Will and Testament and your Special Needs Trust document, respectively.  The successors chosen in your Will and Trust should be reflected in the LifePLAN, so those providing advocacy and future supports have knowledge of the legal designees who will oversee your loved one’s care.


We have helped hundreds of families develop uniquely tailored LifePLANs that detail all
necessary supports for their loved one’s future. We will be at your side throughout the process, answering questions and providing guidance as you work through this list of relevant planning steps.

our story

"A Talk With Families"

The stories of three families with loved ones who have disabilities and who use PLAN|NJ's trust administration and care coordination services are told through interviews conducted in their homes by Executive Director Ellen Nalven.


Planned Lifetime Assistance Network of New Jersey PLAN|NJ
PO Box 547
Somerville, NJ 08876-0547
908-575-8300 (Phone)
908-927-9010 (Fax)


Alliance for the Betterment of Citizens with Disabilities
Association of People Supporting Employment First
Alliance for Pooled Trusts
National Alliance on Mental Illness
National Guardianship Association
National PLAN Alliance
Supportive Housing Association of New Jersey


We work hard to provide relevant and current information. If you feel something is missing or needs to be corrected, please contact us via our contact form HERE.

PLAN|NJ = Lifetime Advocacy for People with Disabilities



PLAN|NJ’s mission is to help family members of people with disabilities answer the question:

“Who will care for my loved one when I'm gone?”

We coordinate the supports needed by individuals with intellectual, developmental and physical disabilities, and challenges with mental health, including people with autism, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, severe mental illness and more.

Spanish Translation

Si usted habla español y quisiera mas información sobre nuestros servicios o si desea una consulta con PLAN\NJ, por favor comuníquese con
Nancy Dilliplane, Director of Trust Services, para asistencia bilingüe:  908-575-8300, extensión 15