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Planning your estate when you have an addicted child

As a parent, you will feel unconditional love for your child and will want to protect them at all costs. Sadly, we cannot always be there for our children, and they will need to deal with life's obstacles without the emotional support of their parents.

This can be particularly difficult to deal with if your child is facing hardships, particularly addiction. It can feel impossible to help a person with addiction if they do not want to seek professional help, and, as a parent, it is likely that you will worry immensely about your child's future.

It's important that you understand what in your child's life you can control and what you cannot. While you cannot and will never be able to control your child's choices and actions, you can control the level and nature of support that they will get from their parents. The type of support that you intend to provide them can be reflected in your estate plan.

Consider wholly discretionary trusts

You may have considered disinheriting your addicted child for fear of them spending the funds on alcohol, gambling or drugs. However, there are ways to ensure that your child will be able to benefit financially from your estate without spending the funds on their addiction. By setting up a wholly discretionary trust, you give the trustee complete control over how and when the funds can be distributed to your child. This will give you peace of mind that your estate will not enable your child in a negative way.

Choose your trustee wisely

If you do choose to go down the route of creating a wholly discretionary trust, it is extremely important that you choose a trustee who shares the same philosophy as you. You want to make sure that the trustee will not enable your child and that they will treat them with the same caution and respect as their own parent.

If you are starting to plan your estate in Illinois, it is likely that you have several concerns about the best way to strategize based on your situation. It is important that you take action to understand the law in full.

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