Estate planning can extend your loving support and guidance to your children even after you are gone. If you have a child with an addiction problem such as alcoholism or other substance abuse issue, you can put your best efforts forward in ensuring that the inheritance you leave for him won’t be used to fuel the addiction or even kill him. Perhaps, this is one of the most important benefits of estate planning for adult children.
Alcoholism runs rampant and often does not rear its ugly head until the forties. It knows no economic boundaries as both the nuclear engineer and the day laborer are both equally at risk. In fact, doctors have one of the highest percentages of alcohol abuse of all professions.
If you know that your child is an alcoholic, it is easy to see the need for careful planning, but even if there isn’t an immediate need, addictions can develop as life unfolds, making planning ahead prudent.
You do not need to disinherit an addicted child, instead you can leave your gift for him in a protected trust. If the addiction is already apparent, it may make sense to name a professional trustee (bank, trust company, private fiduciary) to serve as the sole trustee.
If you are simply being prudent, knowing that addictions can appear in children (or grandchildren) at any time, have your estate planning attorney build in special protections anyway. Such protections would include direction that the trustee is to pay for your child’s health, education, and maintenance but not to give money directly to him. Such provisions are included in all trusts prepared by our firm.
For instance, in the case of an addiction, the trustee will make payment to a rehab facility, landlord, utility companies, grocery store, medical doctor, or school. The money will not go directly to your child for him to spend on alcohol (drugs or gambling.)
If you have any questions about estate planning for adult children and planning for beneficiaries with addictions, consult with an experienced and qualified estate planning attorney.