Law Office of Amy B. Van Fossen, P.A. - Elder Law

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Trusts for beneficiaries with substance abuse problems

Some estate owners in Florida may have intended heirs who are addicted to alcohol or opioids. When creating an estate plan, this type of situation can present many complications. However, certain trust provisions can provide a range of solutions.

Using a trust for beneficiaries who are minors is a standard and logical practice, but some consideration must be given to what types of trust to use. Trusts that are created for minor children with disabilities who are unable to work will be very different from trusts that are created for kids who are substance abusers. This is because the purposes of the trusts are completely different.

There should be a clearly stated purpose for every trust that is created. Parents who want to create a trust for a child who has a substance use problem should consult with a qualified attorney and other types of advisors. With proper guidance, they could determine how a trust can be used to aid in the child’s recovery. A trust can be placed in a number of roles, such as a passive role in which it would be operated independently of any treatment efforts for the child. Parents may also consider requiring that the trust distributions be used only for the beneficiary’s basic support or in some other restricted manner.

An attorney may consider the goals of a client and the unique circumstances of their beneficiaries before recommending an estate planning strategy. If necessary, the lawyer could draw up trust provisions that require distributions to be used in a certain manner or for certain expenses.