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Estate Planning with a Child with Addiction

Pills“Many parents who have children struggling with addiction or mental illness are often too consumed with caring for those children in the present, to give any thought about how those children will be cared for when they are gone.”

A question to consider in estate planning, if you have children is: Do your children now or have ever they struggled with alcohol, drugs, gambling or mental illness in the past?

Trust Advisor’s recent story, “Hope For The Best, But Build Trusts For The Future Of Children With Special Challenges,” remind us that an estate planning attorney is there to help with these unavoidable issues through proper estate planning.

Before diving in, estate planning requires a parent to acknowledge that an addicted son or daughter may never recover. With this in mind, estate planning must be done so that the child never has easy access to funds. In this instance, a trust with special-purpose language may be a wise option.

This solution gives you traditional estate planning goals like avoiding probate, minimizing taxes and ensuring that the intended beneficiaries are named. However, it also needs to be customized for a unique family situation, such as a child with addiction.

Parents can add a clause that lets the trustee deal with such a child. The clause can even have an incentive for the child to meet certain goals or requirements to receive a distribution from the trust, like staying sober.

Estate planning for addictive children has a few special wrinkles, but it’s very similar to traditional estate planning. Work with a qualified experienced estate planning attorney, so you can protect your child from their addiction and from themselves.

Reference: Trust Advisor (February 15, 2017) “Hope For The Best, But Build Trusts For The Future Of Children With Special Challenges”

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