For most Georgia residents, the primary purpose of estate planning is to pass down accumulated wealth to the next generation. For families that have a loved one struggling with addiction, that goal can become complicated. Deciding how to best structure an inheritance means taking the time to think through all of the possible outcomes prior to creating wills and trusts.
Some families choose to give the portion of an inheritance intended for the addict to another family member for safekeeping. The idea is that the trustworthy family member will handle the distribution of funds, ensuring that the inheritance is used to enhance the addict’s life, rather than being squandered. This approach fails to address the fact that the trustworthy family member could lose the inheritance through divorce or another legal proceeding.
Placing the inheritance in a trust offers an additional level of protection. A trusted family member can handle distributions of the trust as needed. When taking this approach, it’s important to focus on assisting a struggling loved one by creating an incentive to go through counseling, rehab and other efforts that address the root of the addiction. Simply requiring a clean urine test to receive disbursements doesn’t really help with long-term recovery.
Families who deal with issues of addiction know all-too-well how stressful it can be to try and help someone who is on a bad path. In terms of inheritance, Georgia families have options for how to structure wills and trusts in a way that will hopefully help their loved one move beyond addiction. Working with a skilled estate planning attorney is an important part of structuring the best possible path.