Why Leaving Money Outright Can Be Deadly

Is a loved one struggling with an addiction?

The combination of inherited cash and addiction can spell disaster. CNN recently reported about a woman in North Carolina whose son received a large cash payment from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina. The son was an addict and used the money to buy drugs. As a result, he died from an overdose. The story reminded me of a client who came in to my office a while back. During the course of our discussions about estate planning goals, the client mentioned a child was dealing with addiction problems. The client was worried about the child's ability to manage a cash inheritance and whether the child could resist using it to buy drugs. We discussed what might happen if the inheritance tempted the child to buy drugs and the child relapsed into addiction - or worse - died from an overdose.

I suggested the client consider a trust that could be managed by a friend of the client's as successor trustee. The friend knew the client's child well and knew the signs of addiction. The friend could adjust the money stream from the trust to the child if and when the child was using drugs. The friend could also prevent a relapse by limiting the flow of money. Not only would this prevent the inheritance from being blown as are most outright inheritances, but it would also prevent a deadly overdose like the one that happened to Jessica Alba's son in the CNN story.  

Jessica Alba and my client are not alone. Nearly half of Americans have a close friend or family member who has or has had an addiction. As parents and family members, we want to protect our loved ones. If you are considering leaving money to someone who struggles with addiction issues (or if someone with addiction issues would inherit from you if you die without a will), you need an estate plan with special provisions to protect them and prevent deadly consequences.

We're here to help! Call 704.887.5242 to schedule a consultation and find out how to protect your loved ones.

Nancy Roberts
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