Written by attorney Michael Kevin Ruberg

Estate Planning for your Addicted Child

Looking at the current epidemic of addiction, many families may have a child addicted to drugs or alcohol. Estate planning with addicts can be emotionally taxing because you likely do not want to disown your child. Taking steps to create an estate plan that considers and accounts for your child’s addiction can prevent them from receiving a lump sum of funds while they are battling this disease. An addicted heir receiving a large inheritance would likely result in wasted money and potentially add to your child’s risk of harming themselves. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to leave your assets to your child without increasing their risk of harming themselves as well as providing for their future.

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Choosing a Trustee – While it may seem obvious to choose a sibling or other relative as a trustee, this is often a mistake. Family members may be too close to the addict to be able to make good decisions. In addition, the addict may spend a great deal of time begging the trustee for money if they are a family member or friend, which can negatively impact the family relationship. Assigning a trusted family lawyer or attorney, or an independent or corporate trustee, as a trustee is often a much better decision. No matter what your decision, it is important to remember that you are approaching it with the best interest of your child or children in mind. Taking steps to keep your estate from an addicted child is not depriving them of their inheritance, it is protecting them from what they might do with the money. Your goal should be to discuss your options with an Estate Planner so that you can make an informed decision.

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