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Leaving an inheritance to a person dealing with substance abuse

On Behalf of | Aug 22, 2023 | Estate Planning |

Addiction is a complex and challenging issue that can affect anyone. Leaving an inheritance to a family member or loved one struggling with addiction needs extra care.

Making thoughtful decisions can have a lasting impact on their well-being and the legacy you leave behind.

Understand the dilemma

Substance abuse costs the nation more than $532 billion a year. While addiction does not define who a person is, it can impact their ability to make reasonable decisions. Entrusting a large sum of money or a piece of property to this person could lead to misuse and enable more damaging behaviors.

Try open communication

Before you decide to remove this individual from your will, communicate openly and honestly with them. Explain your hopes and fears, and ask for their perspective and aspirations. A heart-to-heart talk can provide an opportunity to address the addiction and express your desire to see them seek help.

Create a trust

Establish a trust for the inheritance. With a trust, you designate a trustee to manage the funds on behalf of the beneficiary. This offers protection against potential misuse of the inheritance, using it instead for beneficial purposes like education, medical expenses or treatment for addiction.

Incentivize recovery

Another approach is to structure the inheritance in a way that encourages positive change. For instance, consider creating a stipulation where the distribution of a portion of the inheritance happens only if the individual takes steps toward recovery.

Deciding how to leave an inheritance to a family member with an addiction can be hard. Remember, the goal isn’t just about giving them money or things but also about hoping for a better future and showing them that you care.