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Conversions: The Estate Plan’s Prescription for The Addicted Beneficiary

Americans in Pain

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in 2010 there were an estimated 8.76 million prescription drug abusers in the United States (Source). Pain pill addiction has become an epidemic in the United States.  Most recently, the musician Prince died from an overdose of a prescription pain pill called Fentanyl. It is a medically prescribed pain pill, but is reportedly 50 times stronger than heroin. It is also available on the streets without a prescription for cash.

Sadly, pain pill abuse has become very common among young people seeking the side effects “pain pills” offer.  Many young people die from combining pain killers/narcotic prescription pills with alcohol.

Unfortunately, prescription pain pill abuse often begins legitimately when it’s prescribed by a physician post-surgery or for an injury.  According to a recent article in the New York Times, many older adults are becoming addicted to pain pills following surgery and the addiction is even harder to detect.  (Source: New York Times). The article states it only takes 10 days of use to become addicted.

Access is making pain pill addition spread quickly throughout the US.  The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that over half of prescription pills are obtained from a friend or relative, not from a physician as one would think. (Source)


What does addiction have to do with estate planning?

Whether it’s alcohol, drugs, or prescription pills, receiving a sudden influx of money often leads to overdose and in many cases, death.  In any case, it often leads leads to squandering a loved one’s inheritance and can impact the inheritance to other beneficiaries. This is not the legacy you intended to leave.

Planning for the Addicted Beneficiary

In “The Customized Protective Estate Planning Solution™” we ask our client’s about their loved ones’ addictions, divorces, spending habits, health, marriages, children, jobs, any many other issues so that we can find the strengths & weaknesses of each separate  beneficiary.  We all have strengths & weaknesses. We want to make sure that each of the  client’s loved ones are properly planned for.

Even if your beneficiary has an addiction, it does not mean you wish to leave them out of your estate plan. You still hope they will get the help needed to overcome the addiction and live a successful life. That is every parent’s goal for their adult child.

Conversion Planning

What about the situation where the client does not know of the addiction or it occurs after the Parent’s Estate Plan is in place?  In that case….we build conversions in our “Customized Protective Estate Plan™” Trust that convert so that if a beneficiary (the person inheriting) has become addicted, the Trustee can require that that addicted beneficiary show that they  have successfully completed drug rehabilitation before releasing the inheritance to that addicted beneficiary.

This is one of our unique conversions that we build into our “Customized Protective Estate Plan™” Trusts. This is to build flexibility into the Estate Plan to allow the Trustee to carry out our client’s intent without putting our client’s loved one at risk.   One never knows when addiction is going to raise it’s ugly head.

At the Law Firm of Steven Andrew Jackson, Attorney and Counsellor at Law, we have helped hundreds of families protect themselves and their loved ones, avoid Estate Taxes and Probate Costs, and keep their Estate Plans current with the law through The Customized Protective Estate Planning Solution™.