Addictive substance such as drugs, pills, cigarettes

How to Create a Trust for Children With Substance Abuse Issues

StachlerHarmon Attorneys at Law  Aug. 21, 2023

Today, many individuals suffer from drug abuse or addiction issues. Unfortunately, these individuals can go to any length to satisfy their substance abuse cravings, including spending all their savings or selling off assets. As a result, parents who have children with substance abuse issues must devise a plan to protect the property, money, assets, and other inheritance available to their children. Thankfully, this can be accomplished by setting up a spendthrift trust and naming a reliable person to hold the trust property on the beneficiary’s behalf. 

At StachlerHarmon Attorneys at Law, we enjoy providing comprehensive and knowledgeable guidance to clients in estate planning and trust-related matters. Our trusted Ohio estate planning attorney can direct you through the procedures involved in creating a spendthrift trust for children with substance abuse issues. We're proud to serve clients across Dayton, Miamisburg, Warren, Greene County, Preble County, Clark County, and Butler County, Ohio. 

Possible Inheritance Concerns for a Child With a Drug Problem

The following are possible concerns of parents or legal guardians of children, dependents, and grandchildren who have substance abuse problems: 

  • They may use the money to satisfy their illegal drug use habit. 

  • They can sell off real property, personal belongings, and other assets to raise money for illegal drugs. 

  • They may squander their inheritance, become unable to manage their money, and eventually become homeless. 

  • They may accrue massive debts from their illicit drug use habits. 

  • Creditors (from debts incurred from drug habits) may seize or repossess the child's inheritance to cover the outstanding debts or amount owed. 

  • Inheriting money can increase their drug indulgence. Thus, ultimately leading to accidental overdose. 

  • They may become involved in criminal acts to hide their addiction issues and avoid getting the necessary treatment. 

It is common for parents and legal guardians to be concerned about their children's substance abuse problems, especially when they're unable or unavailable to monitor their affairs. Hence, taking proactive action is crucial to protect assets, property, money, and other inheritance, while making suitable provisions for the child's needs. As mentioned earlier, you can achieve this by setting up a spendthrift trust with specific regulations. 

Spendthrift Trusts and How They Work

What is a spendthrift trust? A spendthrift trust is a trust which provides beneficiaries with limited control and access over the trust assets. Essentially, spendthrift trusts are designed in such a way that the trustee will have complete control over managing the trust property. As a result, the beneficiary will be prevented from transferring, selling, or giving out their trust assets. Also, the trust property will be protected from creditors. 

How Spendthrift Trusts Work

Spendthrift trusts make provisions for the gradual transfer of property and funds to the beneficiary by the trustee. Once the trust is established and funded by the trustor, a trustee will be appointed to help manage the trust assets according to their instructions and wishes. 

The trustor will provide detailed instructions concerning how trust assets and funds should be made available for the beneficiary during recovery or after a relapse. For example, the trustor can make provisions that the trustee should only pay for the beneficiary's living expenses and substance abuse treatment. 

As previously stated, there will be no direct access to the trust property for the beneficiary. The named trustee will provide them with the necessary benefits. Common examples of benefits from spendthrift trusts include monthly payments for basic needs, living expenses, drug abuse treatments, medical and dental checkups, and other professional services necessary for their recovery. The trustor will also state how and when the trustee can make payments to the beneficiary. 

The Role of the Trustee

A trustee has many duties and responsibilities when administering a spendthrift trust, including: 

  • Distribute trust assets and money according to the trust document's provisions. 

  • Receive trust benefits on the beneficiary's behalf. 

  • Handle financial matters, record all transactions, and keep track of records. 

  • Ensure that trust assets and benefits are used by the beneficiary for the specified purposes. 

  • Determine the right situations to withhold or approve payments. 

  • Decide the frequency of making payments to the beneficiary. 

  • Determine how to make payments for goods and services needed by the beneficiary. 

  • Settle all bills, administrative expenses, and other fees accrued during trust administration. 

  • Create a reserve fund that can be used for trust or estate-related expenses. 

A practiced Ohio trust attorney can help you understand the trustee's role in a spendthrift trust and assist you at every stage of the trust administration. 

Sustain Your Legacy

Creating a spendthrift trust offers an excellent way to protect the inheritance and control the spending of children with substance abuse issues when you're no more. At StachlerHarmon Attorneys at Law, we give compassionate legal assistance to clients in complex procedures in establishing spendthrift trusts. Our attorneys will help set up the trust according to your specific instructions and make sure your child gets the required treatments and support to assist with their recovery.

Contact us at StachlerHarmon Attorneys at Law to speak with knowledgeable estate planning attorneys. Our reliable team understands how stressful these times can be, which is why we do our best to protect your child's inheritance and sustain your legacy. We proudly serve clients across Dayton, Miamisburg, Warren, Greene County, Preble County, Clark County, and Butler County, Ohio.