For New Jersey residents who are planning their estates, figuring out how assets should be passed on to heirs can be a difficult thing, especially if one's heir is an opioid addict. Will this person use his or her inheritance responsibly? Is passing assets on to an opioid addict even the best decision? The opioid crisis in America is at an all time high and those going through the estate planning process may want to know what options they have to ensure that their assets are fully protected, even from their heirs' shortcomings.
So, what are the options when estate planning for an heir with an opioid problem? There are a few, actually, the first being disinheritance. It is possible to leave an opioid addict out of one's estate plan completely if one believes that he or she is undeserving or feels that he or she will not be responsible enough to handle any inheritance handed him or her. This can cause hard feelings, but it is an option.
Another option is to give an outright bequest. This means that the addict will receive a small lump sum payment. While this will limit what he or she gets, though, it may open the door for him or her to challenge one's estate plan.
Finally, the last option that will be discussed is trust planning. Setting up a discretionary trust can resolve a lot of other issues that accompany the other two options listed above. Assets will only be distributed as the trustee sees fit. It may not be a perfect plan, but it helps keeps assets under control.
Estate planning is difficult without throwing any family drama in it, but what family does not have some type of drama? While not every family is dealing with an opioid addict, those who are have every reason to be concerned about making sure assets are fully protected in the even of one's death or incapacitation. An experienced New Jersey estate planning attorney can review all of one's options and assist one in setting up a plan that offers all the protections one desires.
Source: wealthmanagement.com, "The Opioid Crisis' Impact on Wealth Planning," Kevin L. Johns, Dec. 5, 2017