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Estate planning advice when a child is dealing with addiction

Most parents hope to split their assets equitably between children when they pass away. But if one child has an addiction to opiates, alcohol or another substance, parents can become concerned that leaving assets to that child is not a responsible decision. There are a few things Delaware parents can do when estate planning with an addiction in the family.

One common way to address this is to put the money intended for the person with substance abuse issues into a trust. This is also a good option for children who have disabilities that may impact their handling money, such as down syndrome or autism. A trust allows parents to appoint a trustee to safeguard the assets, only allowing the child access if he or she meets certain criteria. 

For example, a parent could only allow a child to access money in monthly allotments if the child remains drug free. They could also make access to the fund contingent on the child working with medical professionals and following a treatment plan. Some parents are hesitant to leave any funds to children with substance abuse issues; however, this could have an unintended impact of making other relatives responsible for treatment expenses and other issues.

Addiction is a complicated and emotional issue. Taking these issues into consideration when estate planning is important, but the best thing to do may vary with the circumstances. In general, giving money to another person to hold without a trust in place is not a good idea as those assets could be lost in divorce or bankruptcy. Instead, working with a Delaware lawyer to come up with a trust or another alternative is usually a good route to take.

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