How to Use Financial Leverage to Help a Beneficiary Recovering from Addiction

BY: Law Offices of Andrew Cohen | March 27, 2021

It’s been a tough road, but they are finally getting help. Maybe it’s your son or daughter who has battled addiction or perhaps it is a spouse. Addiction affects nearly 20 million people in America. You have the means, so you’ve aided their recovery through treatment and support.

Through the pandemic, the isolation has caused them to struggle a little more, and you worry what will happen when you’re gone.

Will they run through their inheritance? Will making them a beneficiary only enable them? What’s the best move to protect their recovery when you’re gone?

Trusts can be drafted in a way to provide accountability to your beneficiary. The Law Offices of Andrew Cohen have extensive experience drafting trusts unique to your family needs. When you need wills and trust attorneys in Santa Clarita, California, you need the Law Offices of Andrew Cohen.

You’re Not Alone

If you have a son, daughter, or spouse who has had trouble abusing alcohol or other substances, you are not alone. According to the American Addiction Centers;

  • 19.7 million people struggle with addiction
  • 74% of Americans battle addiction to alcohol and other substances
  • Addiction costs $740 billion worldwide in terms of lost productivity, healthcare expenses, and crime
  • The most common addictive drugs are prescription and over-the-counter medications

Addiction is life-long. Recovery can be lasting with the proper support and treatment in place. So how do you protect your beneficiaries from themselves?

Financial Leveraging

According to William F. Messinger, JD, LADC and Arden O’Connor, MBA, sustained recovery involve family support and leverage. This method has been successfully used by physicians and airline pilots. For an addict to have long-term sobriety, they need to be accountable. In terms of a pilot, the threat of losing their license to fly creates accountability. In their paper, Messinger and O’Connor have seen a success rate as high as 92%.

The same premise will work for your beneficiaries. If you have a family member who struggles with addiction, the possibility of losing access to income from a trust can be a powerful solution. A carefully crafted trust can lay the groundwork for long-term recovery by implementing accountability.

A trustee must be authorized to:

  • Find qualified experts for ongoing treatment
  • Have the ability to offer discretionary financial support in cases where there may be a spouse or children affected
  • Use financial leverage to keep the pressure going long-term

If drafted correctly, your beneficiaries are never entirely cut off from financial support but are held accountable for their actions. The beneficiary can agree to open communication, drug testing, medical releases, meetings, and anything else to aid in their recovery.

Why Andrew Cohen

The Law Offices of Andrew Cohen are here to support you and your family. When you need an estate planning lawyer in Santa Clarita, California, call our dedicated and knowledgeable team today. Contact us for a free consultation of your case by clicking here or calling 661-481-0100.

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