Parental Predicaments: Drug Addiction and Inheritance
Updated: Jan 21
Originally published in the Legal Connections section of Columbus Business First
Parents plan bright tomorrows for their children, but with more than five percent of the worldwide population facing drug addiction, some tomorrows seem like a dark and scary place.
Parents of children suffering from drug addiction fear that an inheritance may cause harm rather than good. Many parents wonder if they should disinherit a child in order to keep them safe rather than leaving the child assets (money, property, etc.) that could be used for drugs, which could lead to death. Instead of disinheriting a child, families can hire an attorney to design and implement trust- centered estate plans so that assets can be used to help a child recover from drug addiction or maintain sobriety based on the
child’s unique needs.
A trust is a legal agreement in which one party (the Trustee) holds property for the benefit of another party (the Beneficiary). A trust is created by someone called a Trustmaker or Grantor. The Trustee holds assets and distributes them to/for the Beneficiary based on the instructions detailed by Trustmaker.
In some cases, parents require certain benchmarks be met by the Beneficiary before they can benefit from the trust. These benchmarks may include lengths of sobriety or passing a drug test. Some parents include instructions that allow for assets to be spent on the Beneficiary (even if not sober) but without providing cash directly to the child. Instead, third parties (landlords, doctors, treatment centers, etc.) can be paid directly by the Trustee. A trust can be as unique as the individual it is intended to help.