How Your Trust Can Help a Loved One Who Struggles with Addiction May 2, 2017 The abuse of alcohol and drugs or other addictions is a serious issue, impacting as many as one in seven Americans. Talking about dealing with these addictions is an increasing part of public and private discourse. You may not have thought, however, about how this may impact how you design your estate plan. Whether the addiction is to drugs, alcohol, gambling, or even shopping, we all care for our loved ones and want them to be happy. Crafting your estate plan to address these issues can have a continuous positive impact on your addicted loved one by motivating them toward better behaviors and protecting your assets from poor decisions. Funding for Addiction Treatment One way in which you can help your addicted loved one is to allow the trust to pay for addiction recovery treatment. You can also provide guidelines to your trustee to help family members encourage the loved one in question for involuntary treatment until the problem stabilizes. Incentive trusts You can provide incentives in your trust, such as full-time employment or seeking voluntary treatment as pre-conditions to receiving distributions from the trust. By providing positive goals to work toward, you can be helping your loved one move from their negative decisions in a empowering and positive way. Combining incentive trusts with treatment funding can be a powerful took. Lifetime discretionary trusts It is often said that addicts never fully recover as the possibility of relapse is always there. Giving a lump sum may never be a good idea. Rather, giving your trustee discretion over trust funds for the entire lifetime of your loved one is a better option. The structure for the constructive use of your trust will always be there, as well as at least one person in between your loved one and the trust funds. You need to pay particular attention to who you name as trustee of your trust. The trustee needs to fully appreciate the situation your addicted love one is in, and you need to trust the trustee with discretion over the distribution of trust funds. Naming the correct trustee is always important, but especially so when you have a loved one who suffers from addiction and there is a need to prevent money from being wasted on the addiction. Final Thoughts Dealing with another’s addiction can be a daily stressor. The thought of your addicted loved one having access to your hard-earned finances probably only increases those stresses. Work with us to help take away that stress and provide you with peace of mind. Contact The Rains Law Firm or schedule a complimentary initial meeting to start discussing how to help your loved one who is struggling with addiction.