I met with a client recently who had a son with a severe addiction to heroin. She wanted to support him, but also wanted to make sure that any inheritance did not go directly to his drug habit. We ended up doing a very specific trust inside the will that allowed him to inherit, but kept his inheritance out of his hands unless he could prove that he had been through a certified rehab program and had stayed clean for at least two years. Otherwise, the trustee had the power to give money directly to a landlord in order to ensure that he had a roof over his head, and to purchase items such as groceries and clothing, and any money left in the trust on the son’s death would go either to his children or to his surviving siblings.
There are many creative ways to use trusts as part of estate planning. Whether for a very young beneficiary, a beneficiary in a rocky marriage, a beneficiary who has poor financial habits or, as in this case, a beneficiary with an addiction, trusts can add incredible value to an estate plan.