Five Reasons You Need an Estate Plan If Your Child Struggles With Addiction

As parents, we experience both joys and struggles as we raise our children. Unfortunately, some struggles continue even when our children reach adulthood. Parents of children who are addicted to drugs or alcohol face many challenges. It is a difficult situation that often creates a great deal of emotional and financial strain. If you think that addiction issues occur only in certain families, you are mistaken. Drug and alcohol abuse is a real problem throughout Orange County, in every neighborhood and every socioeconomic group.

Why Parents of Children With Addiction Issues Need Estate Planning

Fortunately, for parents who are dealing with this difficult and sensitive matter, creating an estate plan can provide some level of comfort and peace of mind. There are many estate-planning techniques that can be used to protect your child as well as your hard-earned assets. Do you still need convincing? Following are five reasons why creating an estate plan is crucial for families with substance abuse problems:

  1. If you have no estate plan in place, your child is likely to be your heir. Without an estate plan, you have very little control over what happens after you die.
  2. A child struggling with an addiction may waste an inheritance on drugs or alcohol. When your child is in recovery, he will not be able to get those wasted assets back.
  3. If someone is struggling with an addiction, it is usually not beneficial to give him easy access to large sums of money. It is the unfortunate truth that access to funds can increase temptation as well as the likelihood of substance abuse.
  4. If proper planning is not put in place while you are still alive, it may difficult, if not impossible, to create an effective means for managing your child’s inheritance after you pass. If the child is struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction, the trustee, personal representative, or other advisor managing your estate or trust may have limited ability to prevent the child from accessing his inheritance.
  5. Even if you were planning to hold assets in trust, failing to incorporate potential addiction issues into your estate planning may be a lost opportunity. Your ideal choice for a successor trustee may be different in light of these addiction issues. Similarly, trust provisions can be tailored to specifically target the addiction problem. For example, the trust may contain provisions that encourage your child to seek treatment.

We hope that this article made you think about some of the important issues surrounding the creation of an estate plan. If we so, we encourage you to sign up for our free newsletter today—it provides helpful tips and valuable information you can use as you consider your estate-planning options.

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