What Do Drugs and Estate Planning Have in Common?

A 3-Step Guide to Planning for a Troubled Adult Child


The Opioid crisis is all over the news.  Families are being destroyed and people are dying. It’s not just Opioids causing problems. In places like Colorado where recreational use of marijuana has been legalized, emergency room doctors are seeing more people coming in due to the ingestion of too much cannabis in the form of edibles.  If drugs are not the source of a family member’s addiction, it may be alcohol.  Maybe your child is impacted by mental illness or seems to keep getting into abusive relationships.  In all of these situations, you are probably concerned about how your adult child will be impacted by receiving an inheritance and what they will do with the money you worked so hard to earn.


Estate planning can pose extra challenges for families with adult children struggling with addiction, marital issues, or irresponsibility with money. The last thing you want is for your wealth to end up having a negative impact on your child, or to see them squander their inheritance. Many parents are concerned about what they can do to shield an adult child who struggles with problems like these from bad decisions and bad people that could worsen their child’s situation.


This is often a hidden issue within estate planning conversations.  It’s a sensitive topic that can bring up painful memories or emotions.  Some parents are apprehensive to discuss their troubled adult children with friends or colleagues because of its private nature and potential for judgment from those outside the family.


While these conversations may be difficult to have, they are crucial to ensuring that your wishes are carried out the way you want. It is important to put your trust in your estate planning attorney knowing that they have both you and your troubled adult child’s best interests in mind. Only when your estate planning attorney is aware of the situation can they work to craft the best possible plan for your family while taking your unique challenges into account.


Step #1:  Determining what works for you

First, understand that what works for your family doesn’t necessarily mean an identical plan for each of your children. I know often times parents want to treat their kids equally but that is not always wise.  It’s okay to craft your plan to work differently for each beneficiary depending on their unique path through life.  As part of the planning process, you are going to have to initiate a frank discussion with your estate planning attorney about any issues concerning your adult children.  The worst course of action is to pretend the issue isn’t there or that it will somehow resolve itself. Bringing these factors to light can only improve the situation and help you create the best possible plan for your family.


Step #2: Mitigate risk with a tailored plan Create a tailor-made plan to mitigate risk

A lifetime trust can be a great solution to prevent an inheritance from making a troubled child’s situation worse.  Lifetime trusts spread distributions over the course of your beneficiary’s entire life, significantly reducing the risk that they waste their entire inheritance on harmful substances, irresponsible spending, or contentious divorce proceedings. Lifetime trusts keep your wealth out of the hands of the probate and divorce courts and ensure that the assets contained in the trust stay in the family even after a divorce.  If you don’t already have the benefits of lifetime trusts written into your estate plan (or simply aren’t sure), we can review your current plan to make sure that it is customized to optimize your child’s long-term security and well-being.


Step #3:  Ongoing support

I know most people think about getting their estate planning accomplished as a one and done deal.  However, like the constitution, estate planning documents, particularly trusts are “living and breathing” documents.  They may be amended as your family’s situation changes.  Once we have a plan in place to protect all members of your family, part of your long-term planning goals should include periodic contact your estate planning attorney, your financial advisor, and your family to make sure the plan continues to work as intended. You can rely on your financial advising and estate planning professional team to answer any questions that arise and make any necessary changes as time goes by. Staying in touch frequently means that your plans stay up to date and will continue to further your goals for your family.


If you would like further information or assistance, please contact Hurst-Euless-Bedford, Texas Estate Planning and Elder Law Attorney, Antoinette Bone, at (817) 462-5454 , email info@abonelaw.com, or click here to go ahead and set an appointment :

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Nothing in this message is intended to provide legal advice.  This message is for educational purposes only.


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