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Tampa Estate Planning Attorney > Blog > Estate Planning > Your Estate Plan Should Face Reality About Addiction

Your Estate Plan Should Face Reality About Addiction


You are not the target audience for those estate planning sales pitches about protecting your wealth and spending your golden years walking on the beach with your spouse and going on cruises with your friends.  You have nothing in common with the people who will only begin work on an estate plan if, for the next 12 months, the lawyer promises not to use the words “death” or “disability.”  You have already thought about the worst things that can happen to you and your family, because some of them have already happened to you.  If your son or daughter is living with addiction, you are used to not knowing whether your child will outlive you, and you are used to doing everything you can to provide for your grandchildren’s short-term and long-term needs but knowing that it is not possible to reassure them that everything will be okay.  Family estrangement, panic, compassion fatigue, and putting on a smile in order to provide a sense of normalcy are old news for you.  A Tampa estate planning lawyer can help you create an estate plan that reflects your reality.

Estate Planning Considerations for Families Affected by Substance Use Disorder

Estate planning lawyers often tell clients that, in building their estate plans, they should hope for the best but prepare for the worst.  You should do this, too, even though the worst is a more frequent visitor in your mind than it is for most people.  If your child is currently sober, you should entertain the possibility that your child will remain sober, but also acknowledge that your child may relapse at least once while you are alive or after you are gone.

The provisions of your will or your trust are your decision alone.  No one knows your financial situation and your family dynamics better than you do, but consider how you can prepare for all possible outcomes in your estate plan.  If you want to provide for your child who has a history of addiction, it is safer to do this through a trust than to award your child a lump sum in your will, because the entire inheritance will disappear with the next relapse.  Instead, set up a spendthrift trust, which you should think of as a “one day at a time” trust.  The trust instrument can instruct the trustee to pay for addiction treatment if needed.  It can also prohibit the trustee from paying money from the trust to your child except when your child undergoes drug testing and attends counseling or 12-step meetings.  If you have been a main caregiver, officially or unofficially, for your minor grandchildren, your estate plan should also address their care in the event that you die before they reach adulthood.

Contact David Toback About Estate Planning for Grandparents Who Have Been Through It All

A Central Florida estate planning lawyer can help you build an estate plan that addresses the reality of substance use disorder in your family.  Contact David Toback in Tampa, Florida to set up a consultation.



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