Estate planning in Illinois can be difficult on its own, but it's even more so when you have an adult child who is an addict. While you want to provide for your child after you're gone, you naturally don't want to contribute to a damaging and life-threatening habit. As opioid addiction rates rise around the country, MarketWatch offers the following advice to elderly estate planners faced with addiction in their families.
If you provide an inheritance to your adult child using conventional methods, you run the risk of the inheritance being squandered. In the worst-case scenario, a large influx of money may even cause loss of life, health issues, or legal repercussions which can be extremely damaging. Conversely, leaving a loved one out of your will altogether may feel like abandonment to the person with the addiction, which can make the problem even worse.
An incentive trust may be the right option for you in this case. An incentive trust allows you to list certain criteria, such as attendance of a drug rehab program, that must be met before the person receives an inheritance. Choosing the right trustee is crucial in this case, as he or she will be responsible for ensuring terms are met, as well as making alterations if the situation changes. You must also make sure that all trust documents are completed correctly, which entails an attorney's help.
Lastly, the best thing you can do for an adult child who is an addict is to keep communicating. If you're taking steps like the above, make sure your child knows. Explain that you're taking these measures to help your child break the cycle of addiction and to support her during her time of need. You can also speak with your attorney on how to best structure an estate plan to account for the problems drug addiction causes.