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How can opioid addiction affect estate planning?

There are some families in the Kent area and across Washington who know a person who is addicted to drugs or alcohol in their family. The opioid crisis in the United States has reached an all-time high and many families are faced with this crisis. Estate planning around this situation can be tricky.

Every day in the U.S., over 130 Americans die from an opioid overdose. Addiction has reached a crisis level in the U.S. and estate planning has become more difficult for those who have family members who have an addiction. Opioid addiction can affect any family, regardless of where they live or their economic status. When there is an addict in the family, it places tremendous stress and financial strain on a family. There are many conflicted feelings as to how to help the addict and how to protect the family assets.

One estate planning strategy is to disinherit the addict. Another option is for parents is to leave an addicted child a portion of their inheritance, but this can lead to them having the financial means necessary to challenge the estate and gain even more money to fund their addiction. Parents can also opt to give the addicted child's inheritance to siblings, who can then disburse the funds for the addict's needs. This can lead to a strain of the sibling relationships along with the risk of creditors accessing the funds, mismanagement of funds and even bankruptcy.

Trust planning can be one of the best ways to distribute assets when there is an addicted child. Creating a trust that distributes money based on health, education, maintenance and support can be a good way to ensure an addicted beneficiary receives money for their well-being in a controlled way.

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