Watching someone you love sink into addiction is painful. Unfortunately, despite your best efforts, there is really nothing that you can do to help your loved one overcome their addiction. Addiction tends to impact many people, as the addict can steal from or lie to family members and loved ones to continue accessing their drug of choice.
In many families, it becomes necessary to limit or even eliminate financial support for an addicted family member, as they may use the funds or assets they receive to pay for drugs and fuel their addiction. Sometimes, family members dealing with addiction choose to completely write someone out of a last will.
However, excluding one family member from your will could give rise to a legal challenge by that person. In many cases, particularly if you do still hope to provide some inheritance for your addicted loved one, creating a trust is the simplest option.
An incentive trust or a spendthrift trust could help you create a legacy
Unlike a standard last will, which involves the direct dispersal of assets after the death of the testator, a trust is a legal entity that exists even after the death of the person who creates it. In other words, creating a trust gives you the legal ability to control when a loved one accesses assets, how much they can withdraw and even at what time.
A spendthrift trust places strict limits on how much a beneficiary can withdraw in any given period, such as a month or a year. This prevents your loved one from squandering their assets all at once, ensuring that there is something for them for a long time to come. However, that could mean that the trust provides dependable income for an addict who can then abuse that income.
An incentive trust can place specific stipulations on when an heir can access assets. For example, successful completion of a rehabilitation program could be a requirement. Other times, you may choose to limit how much can be withdrawn at once and require the beneficiary to pass drug tests for each withdrawal. These kinds of trusts can help motivate your heirs to take better care of themselves.
Creating a trust protects your loved one from themselves
An addict can often be their own worst enemy. They can squander assets and ruin relationships all in the pursuit of a chemical buzz. You can include someone you love who is struggling with addiction in your legacy and last will without fueling their self-destructive habits.
If you think that creating the trust is the solution you need for an issue with your estate, it’s probably time to talk to an attorney who understands estate planning.