Addiction & Estate Planning Attorney in Dutchess County
Representing Families Struggling with Addiction
For families with a history of drug abuse and addiction, it is crucial
to consider addiction issues when creating an estate plan.
The struggle and hardship of having a child addicted to drugs and/or alcohol
is never-ending. Upon your death, what are you to do with your money?
If a child has a history of drug abuse, should you cut the child off (disinherit)
and make a hard life even harder? Should you reward them for bad behavior
or motivate good behavior? Will your estate fund habits that can lead
to their death?
Taking a balanced approach when creating an
estate plan can help you address your family’s challenges. People are reluctant
to leave money for someone who will use it to feed their destructive and
deadly habits. The fear of providing the money that will lead to a person’s
continuing destruction or death is justified, which is why you should
consult with an attorney to discuss the estate planning tools that are
available for you.
Trustscan be used so that a troubled child will only receive money after your death if:
- You decide is in your family’s best interest.
- It is pursuant to a plan of distribution that you designed.
- It addresses the overall needs of your family.
By creating a trust, you can help influence a child’s behavior and
actions. Ultimately, you control when and if money will be available.
What Can Be Done If My Child Has an Addiction?
Sober Trust: The money is available only if a child is sober. This can include independent
testing to confirm the health of a child.
Goal Trust: Trusts that permit the release of funds (all or a portion) when certain
goals are reached. Goals-based upon accomplishments relating to employment,
school, health, raising children, paying debts, etc. can result in the
release of funds.
Scheduled Distributions: Specific amounts can be released at specific times. For example, you can
allocate a certain amount every month to pay rent. An automatic disbursement
is paid to the child regardless of circumstances.
Allowance Trust: A Trustee has the discretion to release funds as the Trustee finds appropriate.
You don’t have to try to predict the future when you have a Trustee
that you have confidence in. A Trustee can make decisions in the future
based upon what is happening instead of what was expected.
Disinherit the Child: Disinheriting a child is usually the least desirable option. A parent
is free to disinherit a child. Parents can disinherit a child and leave
money for that child’s children instead. Disinheritance can sometimes
be the safest plan.
Some of the above Trusts have the same effect if a child fails to maintain
their sobriety or meet the goals described in the Trust. The Trusts described
above gives the child one last chance to behave or act in an acceptable manner.
How Can a Trust Help My Child Beat Addiction?
Motivation: A properly-crafted Trust can be used as a tool to motivate abstinence
and recovery. A well-designed Trust can be used to help the individual
and not contribute to his/her destructive behavior.
Success: If your child struggles with this issue, success of any kind needs to
be valued and employed. The tipping point to success is elusive and all
available leverage needs to be used.
Control: Family members can determine when and under what circumstances the addicted
loved one will obtain distributions. In addition, they can establish certain
provisions to prevent the trustee or beneficiary from obtaining funds
and using them to support their addiction.
The following are common provisions to include in such trusts:
- Monitored alcohol or drug testing (whether random or periodic).
- Being employed for a certain period.
- Finishing school or maintaining a specific grade point average.
- Completing a certain number of drug-counseling hours.
Are you ready to discuss your estate planning options with Martin Law,
PC? Give us a call today at (845) 764-8104 to schedule your free case consultationwith a member of our law firm.