How to plan your estate when a loved one struggles with addiction

| Dec 31, 2020 | Wills & Trusts

It can be very difficult to watch a child or other family members struggle with chemical dependence. Addiction not only steals opportunity from people but it also often changes their personality. Someone that you want to trusted and respected might now be capable of saying anything to get their hands on their drug of choice. 

The idea of leaving an inheritance for someone who could eventually use that money to go on a drug binge might horrify you. Some people simply choose to disinherit a loved one who has shown prolonged and severe addiction tendencies. 

However, there is another option that can allow you to leave some kind of legacy if someone you love is an addict. You can use a trust to leave something behind and possibly even help your loved one get the treatment they need. 

A carefully-structured trust might give someone an incentive to change

Instead of giving a lump-sum inheritance that your addicted loved one will immediately have control over, it is probably wiser to place any inheritance for them in a trust. You can set your own terms for the use of the resources in the trust. 

You might limit their access to costs for healthcare needs, addiction services and educational expenses. You might also put conditional terms on their access to resources, such as a requirement to pass a drug test or to go through rehabilitation. Naming the right trustee will help ensure that your loved one has support, not someone who will look the other way and enable them. 

The nature of the addiction and your loved one’s personal history will play a role in what strategy is best for your situation. Thankfully, with the right help, creating an estate plan that protects your loved one and acknowledges their addiction is a viable option.