Substance addiction is a serious matter and one in seven Americans are being impacted by it. It could be drug abuse, alcoholism or gambling, and we want those whom we care about to be making good decisions and have a successful recovery. Creating a smart estate planning can help with this kind of situation.

There are some doubts about this because money from a trust can possibly make things worse by funding the addiction. With proper planning, you can frame your estate planning efforts to help out your loved one’s efforts in a positive way especially in their most difficult times.

Funding for treatment

You can create an estate plan to have your money work in the right direction with their therapy. You can fund their positive efforts and actions on their therapy if they been already suffering from addiction. There are difficult times during an intervention to keep a family member safe, you can provide your trustee with guidance to help other family members with the beneficiary’s best interest by encouraging involuntary treatment until the problem is stabilized and the loved one begins recovery.

Incentive trusts

If your love one’s (who has an addiction) actions are questionable and lack trusts, there are incentive features that you can create in your estate planning to help improve them. For example, let’s say that he/she will have to keep their employment and/or voluntarily look for treatment to receive an inheritance from the trust. It may seem controlling but the having an incentive will give them something to look forward to and work for. This type of incentive is mostly paired with funding a treatment which will pay to help with treatment and motivate the beneficiary to work for an inheritance.

Lifetime discretionary trusts

A big lump sum inheritance can to a beneficiary with addiction can motivate the addiction to go downhill and also make the treatment even harder to commit to. Lifetime Discretionary Trusts can provide structure for an heir’s inheritance. If you have someone you plan to leave an inheritance to and have an addiction, you can be at peace knowing that their inheritance can’t be accessed early and make choices that could make their addiction problem worse.

There should be a balance in safeguarding the money and distributing the proper amount within the instructions of the trust. In able for this balance come to exist, you must really be careful and trust the trustee to carry out your instructions. Your trustee will be in charge of giving the money to your beneficiary, paying for treatment therapy and other instructions within your trust. Your trustee will definitely need to be responsible for his/her instructions to be carried out and have a firm understanding in dealing with a beneficiary that has an addiction problem.

Navigating a loved one’s addiction is more than enough stress already without having to worry about further enablement through assets contained in your trust. Let us take some of the burdens off your shoulders by helping you build an estate plan that positively impacts your loved one and will not contribute to the problem at hand. That way, you can go back to focusing your efforts on the solution. We handle matters in Estate Planning, Elder Law, and Probate. We are located in the Claremont Village. We service most cities in Los Angeles County, Orange County, Riverside County and San Bernardino County.

Please call (909) 256-6702 to discuss your questions and schedule a free consultation:
Trust and Estate, Elder Law, Special Needs, Conservatorship, Trust Administration and Probate in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, Orange and San Diego counties. We offer flat, hourly and contingent fees, based on the type of matter.




341 W. 1st St. Suite 100
Claremont, CA 91711

MARIVEL M. ZIALCITA is the founder of MMZ LAW, A Professional Corporation, where she practices in the areas of Trust and Estate, Elder Law, Special Needs, Conservatorship, Trust Administration and Probate. Ms. Zialcita is a frequent speaker on trust and estate matters and holds memberships in the State Bar of California, Trust and Estate Section, The San Bernardino County Bar Association, Wealth Counsel and Elder Counsel. She currently assists in the pro bono legal services program at the James L. Brulte Senior Center in Rancho Cucamonga, California. She is based in Claremont and assists clients throughout Southern California.

This information is educational information only and not legal advice.