Nov 2015

Protecting the Inheritance of a Child with Substance Abuse Problems

Estate Planning: Protecting an Inheritance

If you are the parent of a teen or young adult with a substance abuse problem, you may be understandably concerned about leaving a legacy for your child without enabling harmful behavior.

This is a common source of anxiety for people who have loved ones struggling with substance abuse and addiction. If an adult child suffering from addiction suddenly inherits $10,000, $30,000, or $100,000 with no limits or supervision, it could have serious consequences.
Fortunately, there are several things parents and others can do when it comes to estate planning to create a plan that allows them to provide for their children without giving them a blank check to make destructive choices.

Be Honest about the Problem

It is quite normal for parents and families to avoid talking about a child’s drug or alcohol problem. These discussions may be painful, but it is important to have them. It is also important to be fully honest with yourself and your loved one about the severity of the substance abuse problem. If you don’t fully address the issue, you risk undergoing an estate planning process that does not really work for your situation.

Be Careful about Choosing Trustees

One estate planning option to consider is appointing a third party to serve as executor or, if necessary, trustee. It is usually not a good idea to make an individual struggling with substance abuse the trustee of a trust, as this will give the person full access to the trust’s assets.

Instead, consider a responsible third party who understands your situation and why it is important to strictly monitor distributions and restrict the child’s access to money and other assets.

Put Conditions on Distributions

Some parents choose to create an estate plan that only allows a child to receive funds if he or she satisfies certain conditions, such as passing routine drug screenings.

Parents can also designate specific funds for rehabilitation services, counseling, and drug treatments for their children.

Springfield, Missouri Estate Planning Law Firm

Substance abuse isn’t the only reason why an individual may wish to create an estate plan that addresses a child’s negative behavior or lack of impulse control. In some cases, a child may have a gambling problem or poor money management skills. In these situations, careful estate planning can go a long way toward making sure your loved ones have the assets and supervision they need.

At the Law Office of Randy L. Smith, LLC, we help people create estate planning documents that provide peace of mind. Call today at (417) 841-2775 to speak to an experienced estate planning lawyer about your case.