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Home > Blog > Estate Planning > Ways to Deal with Loved One Who is an Addict or Alcoholic In Estate Planning

Ways to Deal with Loved One Who is an Addict or Alcoholic In Estate Planning


Dealing with a loved one who is an addict or alcoholic is heartbreaking. No matter how much you love them, efforts to get them to stop often prove futile. Sadly, addiction can ruin their health and all chances of finding happiness or success while putting your own wellbeing and financial security at risk. While you may not be able to change their behavior, there are steps you can take through estate planning that can help to protect them and everyone else involved.

Protecting The Health and Assets Of Loved Ones Who Suffer From Substance Abuse 

According to the Partnership To End Addiction (drugfree.org), close to 24 million Americans struggle with substance abuse disorders. That amounts to roughly one out of every ten adults. Unfortunately, only 11 percent of sufferers end up seeking treatment.

Drug and alcohol problems impact not only the addict, but their friends and family members. In addition to the emotional turmoil their addiction causes, there are practical matters to contend with. Estate planning helps protect their health and any assets they possess:

  • Guardianship proceedings: If your loved one has property or assets at their disposal, they could easily be depleted in support of their habit. A guardian or conservator can be appointed through the court to manage their financial affairs. This includes arranging for housing, overseeing financial accounts, and approving any withdrawals or transfers.
  • Advance planning directives: Unfortunately, addiction is a progressive illness that can prove fatal. It also increases the risk for chronic illnesses and accidental injuries. Advance planning directives, such as a health care power of attorney and living will, help address medical issues as they arise.

Providing For Alcoholic or Drug Addicted Family Members In Your Own Estate Planning

Having a will filed through the New York Probate Court provides instructions on how you want property and assets to be distributed to beneficiaries. While it is natural to want to include an alcoholic or drug-addicted loved one in your estate plans, you are justified in having concerns about their ability to manage an inheritance. Establishing a trust is often the best course of actions. Ways in which it can help in this situation include:

  • Allows you to name a trustee, who will manage your loved one’s inheritance;
  • Allows you to dictate how and when money or property is distributed, avoiding large or lump sum payments;
  • Allows you to dictate terms for receiving funds, such as requiring the person to be sober for a period of time;
  • Allows you to designate payment for certain items, such as a stay in a rehabilitation facility.

Let Us Help You Today

At Cavallo & Cavallo, we know how heartbreaking it is dealing with a loved one who is an addict or alcoholic. Through estate planning, we can help protect both yourself and them. To discuss your options, reach out and contact our Bronx & Westchester estate planning attorneys to request a confidential consultation in our office today.



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