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Estate Planning For People With Family Members Who Have Addiction Problems

  • By: Christopher Benson
  • Published: February 18, 2014

One of the hardest things to think about when creating an estate plan or will is the loved ones in your life that you feel need you to survive. This might include a family member with an addiction problems (Drugs, gambling and so on).

Creating a revocable trust that you can modify and change over time is a great way to handle this issue.  You can even control when (or if) the family member with the addition problem will benefit from your estate and protect the assets along the way for their benefit.

When creating your estate plan, it’s only natural to think about who will take care of them, and how can you leave assets behind to help without enabling them. Sometimes there is nothing you can do. In these cases you can disinherit a child or family member for the express purpose of preventing them from gaining any of your assets.

If you believe you can help but don’t trust the individual to be responsible, you can put your assets in a trust and appoint another individual as a trustee. This allows you to make specific conditions that must be kept for the individual to gain access to the money. Or, they could be prevented from accessing the money directly at all, if you stipulate that the money should be used by the trustee to pay rent, a car payment, or another living expense.

You can make other requirements if you like to incentivize the individual to get help, such as staying sober or attending counseling appointments regularly. Money can be a powerful motivator.

A trust can allow you to have a positive influence over someone’s life long after you’re gone. It can be there to promote change in a person on whom all your words were lost. If you have someone in your life who has a drug, alcohol, gambling, or other problems, talk to an estate planning attorney about how you can provide for their needs with a trust. 

Do you have a plan in place for your children? Over the past 22 years, the Law Offices of Christopher A. Benson has helped more than 800 clients prepare and utilize simple and effective planning techniques to protect them and their families in order to avoid probate, save estate taxes, save money and save added emotional burden that comes from long term illness and/or death of a family member. Give us a call to schedule a free consultation to find out how we can help you and your family.

Christopher Benson

About the Author Chris served on the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity
Seattle/S. King County for 10 years and served as Vice President
of the organization during part of that time. Read More