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How an estate plan can provide for a troubled family member

Florida residents with a troubled family member may be unsure of how to work out the details of their estate plan. For instance, if a child or grandchild has a drug addiction, it may not be in their best interest to leave them with a large inheritance. Likewise, leaving money or property to a family member with a gambling problem could serve to enable their addiction.

When writing a last will and testament, there are two ways to deal with the issue of a problem child in the family. The easiest way is to disinherit the person and completely exclude them from the estate plan. Unless the person is the benefactor's spouse, there is no legal obligation to leave them an inheritance. On the other hand, if someone wishes to provide for their troubled family member in the estate plan, they may create a trust for the person that is left in the care of another family member.

By leaving a trust in the control of a more responsible family member, a person may be assured that their troubled loved one will be provided with only the basic necessities. The trustee may then use the funds to pay for the troubled person's rent, bills and groceries. A person may also choose to write in monetary incentives for the troubled family member to seek help and stay sober.

During the process of estate planning, issues like a family member with harmful addictions may complicate the process. To ensure that assets are distributed in the desired manner, it may be important to consult with an estate administration attorney. An attorney may be able to help establish trusts that will be in the best interest of the surviving family members.

Source: NWI Times, "When a loved one's faults need to be recognized", Christopher W. Yugo, November 26, 2013

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