Opioid addiction has skyrocketed over the past 20 years and is the leading cause of death for people under the age of 50. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says 42,000 people died from opioid abuse in 2016, which is five times greater than in 1999.
Addiction of any kind can heap tremendous emotional and financial strain on a family, as rehabilitation efforts can be costly. Parents of chemically-addicted children here in California can spend thousands of dollars on treatment, sometimes using money meant for their retirement.
Estate planning can help families gain control
Abstinence and treatment are essential parts of battling addiction, but estate planning can be a vital tool for helping your loved one recover without exposing your family to financial ruin if a relapse occurs. A carefully designed plan can provide resources for recovery while allowing you to meet your fiscal obligations.
Incentive trust increases accountability
When putting your estate plan in place, you may worry that lump-sum distributions or outright bequests to loved ones battling an addition may encourage them to relapse. Others may consider removing vulnerable family members from their will entirely.
However, an incentive trust can be a good compromise by helping you protect your assets while ensuring accountability when those assets are distributed. They are designed as a way to encourage or discourage certain types of behavior by using the proceeds of the trust as an incentive.
Seek legal guidance for setting up a trust
Incentive trusts can be complicated to set up, but the rewards have been well worth the effort for many. If you or a loved one is battling an addiction, an experienced estate planning attorney here in California can help you decide if an incentive trust, or another option, is a good fit for your family’s situation.