I’ve seen firsthand how substance abuse can impact families, leaving parents heartbroken and unsure of how to protect their loved ones while preserving their legacy. In my experience, many parents want to leave an equal inheritance to all their children, but when one child is struggling with addiction, it can significantly complicate matters.

In this blog post, I’ll share some empowering, educational, and clear advice on how to navigate this complex situation. We’ll explore options that allow you to support your child without enabling their addiction and inspire you to take action and protect your family’s future.

The Dangers of an Unrestricted Inheritance

Consider client Jane and her son Michael who struggles with drug addiction. Jane was concerned that leaving Michael a lump sum inheritance would only fuel his addiction and jeopardize his safety. Her hunch is likely right – studies have shown that individuals with substance abuse issues are more likely to use a sudden windfall to support their addiction, putting their health and life at risk.

To avoid this scenario, we often suggest the following estate planning strategies:


Alternatives to a Traditional Inheritance

While creating a trust is a popular choice, there are other options to consider when planning your estate:


  1. Family support: You may instead choose to allocate funds to other family members who can provide financial support to your child in need. However, be cautious of potential conflicts or legal issues that may arise. This is generally not the best (or safest) option. 
  2. Charitable donations: You can set up a charitable remainder trust (CRT) or a donor-advised fund (DAF) to support causes that are meaningful to you and your child. These options provide tax benefits and can serve as a lasting legacy for your family. 
  3. Direct payments: Rather than providing your child with a lump sum, consider making direct payments for essential expenses such as rent, utilities, and medical bills. This can help your child maintain stability without directly funding their addiction.

The Importance of Open Communication

Finally, it’s crucial to have open and honest conversations with your entire family about your estate planning decisions. By explaining the reasons behind your choices, you can help minimize potential conflicts and ensure that everyone understands your intentions.

Taking Action to Protect Your Family’s Future

My mission is to help local families navigate complex situations like leaving an inheritance to a child struggling with substance abuse. By considering the options outlined in this post, you can create a plan that both safeguards your legacy and provides a helping hand to your child in need.

If you’re ready to take action and stop procrastinating, reach out to our office at <insert number> to schedule a confidential consultation. We have experience working through these difficult situations with families, and we’re here to help you find a path that works best for you and your loved ones.

If you’re ready to get started, we invite you to schedule a consultation today

This article is a service of Miller & Miller Law Group. We do not just draft documents; we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love.