How are you handling your will

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by tryingtobestrong, Aug 28, 2018.

  1. Quick question on how you all with adult children in addiction are handling your wills? Originally when ours were set up, upon the death of both of us, the assets were to be sold and split between my 2 children. Since one of my adult children has this addiction, we don't feel it is in their best interest to allow them to have the money if we were to die unless he would be in recovery which one never knows when that will be.
    I realize the chances of both of us dying at the same time are slim but it is still a possibility. The lawyer we are using said to us that "So what if you child squanders the money away due to his addiction, it is his to do what he wants with..." Seriously? is this how I should be thinking?
  2. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    My husband wanted to split our estate 3 ways. Our addicted son has been sober one year in his program. He seems to have changed in a major way but of course until he is not in the constraints of the program will we truly know what will be.

    I was hesitant but he insisted. He said if he blows it then he blows it. It won't bother us cuz we'll be dead. Shoulder shrug...
  3. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    We gave a lot of thought to this. My husband and I have spent a great deal of money over the past twelve years trying to help our older daughter get sober. It didn't seem fair to our younger daughter who has always done everything right to split what is left.

    So, we drew up the will with our youngest daughter getting an equal amount to what we have already spent on our oldest daughter to even things out and then the two of them splitting the rest. We told both daughters that we had done this and they were both okay with it.

    My older daughter was newly in recovery when we drew up the will so a close friend of mine agreed to handle her portion of the money so that my daughter would receive a third now, another third when she gets to 35 and the remainder when she gets to 40 (of course, this is assuming both my husband and I were dead before then . . . let's hope this doesn't happen). We figured that way she couldn't burn through it all at once. Our younger daughter is the executor of the will but we didn't want her to have to handle the older one's money. We were afraid that the older one would badger the younger one for the money and it would create a burden on our younger daughter.

    Even now that our daughter has been sober for over two years, she still doesn't handle money very well (pays her bills but never has anything left over) so I am glad that she would still get it portioned out if something happens to both of us.

    We feel comfortable about our decision and that is the important thing. You have to do what you feel is fair and then let it go.
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2018
  4. OTE

    OTE Guest

    I haven't gotten to a conclusion yet. Each of mine has different issues but I won't leave any of them a lump sum. I've told them my first goal is to provide a perm place for each of them to live. Preferably close by so the oldest two can keep an eye on the youngest. Then there's a trust to pay the taxes, condo dues, maint on each place. Any remaining into a trust with a monthly annuity to each. Each place will have an extra bedroom if they want income from a roommate to pay bills. If they don't want to live there they can rent it out for income. Right now I'm thinking a house to be a family group home for the youngest. And two on site over the garage type apts or small duplex for the other two. All owned by trust managed by designated relatives of residents of group home. Lots to be worked out but these are my thoughts.

    My logic is that an addict is either functioning well and living where he chooses or not doing well and with this plan has a decent roof over his head.
    Lasted edited by : Aug 28, 2018
  5. Elsi

    Elsi Active Member

    I am struggling with this issue right now as well! It's time to redo mine. I'm trying to figure out how many strings I put on things, whether I do that for everyone or just for the ones who are struggling, and whether to try to use the will to "even out" outcomes among them or just divide things equally. What's the fairest way to do this?

    Right now, my gut instinct is to do a trust for my two struggling ones that doles out money at intervals, as Kathy describes above. I don't think I want to put anyone in the position of deciding whether their plans for the money are "worthy" or not. When they were all younger, I had everyone in a trust with my mom as executer, with money only to be used for educational expenses, setting up a business, or buying a home. Now, mom's older and not the best choice for executer, and the only one of the kids who really has the head for it would be my youngest. It doesn't seem fair to her to put her in the position of holding the purse strings for her older siblings and making those judgments. And they are all kind of aging out of the kinds of education I had in mind when I put my current will together. So I guess it would be just age-based or time-based. I like Kathy's 1/3 at a time approach above. I'm fairly sure they would blow the first third, but maybe there would be an opportunity for growth and learning if a few years pass before the next amount drops.

    But do I do that for the ones who are doing well now, also? N is married with a young family, struggling to make it financially, and a lump sum could make a real difference for them. Maybe let them get a house in their expensive real estate market. But he's struggled in the past, too, so what if he falls off the wagon again sometime after the will is written?

    And then there's my youngest, who is off to a great start in her career and literally just married into a family of multimillionaires. Do I cut her out, because chances are she's not going to need it like her sibling will? Or is that making the wrong kind of statement - punishing her for her success and good fortune? And who knows, she could end up divorced and disabled at some point - anything could happen. I can't predict the future.

    The bottom line is my modest estate probably isn't going to be enough for anyone to count on for too much. My first priority now is protecting my partner's ability to stay on our property for her lifetime, probably with some kind of trust that passes my portion of it down to my kids after she is gone if she outlives me. I have a little life insurance and my retirement account that could be divided. But it's not going to provide anyone with guaranteed housing for life, that's for sure. Maybe a boost into a more positive direction, if they use it well. But if I thought that would happen, I'd be trying to figure out a way to make it happen now while I'm alive!
  6. EarthIsHard

    EarthIsHard Member

    We're trusting a friend to handle the funds to our son. The other kids will get a lump sum. We've decided even if something happens to him, instead of dividing it between his siblings, we'd donate his portion to some of the facilities/organizations who've helped him and us get through these years and hopefully help others in the future.
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  7. OTE

    OTE Guest

    Elsi, look up the term "life estate." very common.

    Just my opinion, but not dividing an amount evenly based on the current individual needs of each child could create a problem down the road. Perfect excuse for them to quarrel now or later.

    I also did run my ideas past each of my older kids. The addict's comment was that he was ok with the housing for the sibs who have little chance of self-sufficiency. But he wanted there to be some place he could go if he needed it ("if I'm not doing good)". So I concluded on equal apts for older two.

    I have a personal thing about inheritance going to my kids and not their spouses. Mine have a history of poor choices. If they got a lump sum and put it into joint property such as a house... Upon divorce half of my lump sum ends up with neither my kid nor my grandkids. Nothing I could control but bugs me to think about it.
  8. Elsi

    Elsi Active Member

    Thanks OTE! I knew there was a term for this.

    That’s kind of what I was thinking too. It just seems so strange to have kids living such radically different lives. My oldest homeless without a penny in his pocket. My youngest making good money of her own and married into the 1%. It sounds the premise of a Hallmark original movie. But I know life is unpredictable, so who knows where everyone will be by the time I’m gone? I’m not planning on dying anytime soon.
  9. overcome mom

    overcome mom Member

    We did a special needs trust that will be administer by a bank. We have my husband's sister and then her kids as consultants of the trust. They will handle all of our personal belongings at the time of death and then the money from our accounts and the sale of our things will go into the trust. My son will get and initial $5,000 and then $1,500 a month. This amount increases 3% a year. We also put in provisions of how much he is to get if he is incarcerated and how much he will get upon release. We didn't want family to have to dole out the money as he would be hounding them constantly. If he has health problems or wants mental health treatment he can use it for that but it is be paid directly to the person/place. With a special needs trust he can still receive SSI if he qualifies. I can not imagine him ever doing well with money. This way at least he will have something. I had a brother who had drug problems when my parents died. He put in the will that he had to have so many clean drug tests and then he could get the money. I am happy to say he did get the money and bought a house. He has had a few relapses but has done fairly well from when he was using. Has kept a job and has been married about 18 years. He did miss when we were splitting up family items but he has never said anything about it.
  10. OTE

    OTE Guest you can see there's no one answer but no one who has replied intends on letting them have it immediately in lump sum. Seems a kind of unusual reply for an attorney in my experience. You might think about finding an attorney more concerned about your wishes. Is this attorney concerned about making it air tight?
  11. Triedntrue

    Triedntrue Well-Known Member

    I have also been thinking about this and have gotten some good ideas to think about. My oldest has gone through alot of money and has been told this will come out of his inheritance. I like the idea of a trust. I also like what kathy said above about do what you think is fair and then let it go.( I can never get quote to work). Just as an aside i would never ask my younger two to handle their brothers money they have detached from him so there is enough resentment from both sides already.
  12. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    We are giving our Difficult Child an equal amount although we probably have spent more on him with rehabs, lawyer fees etc. but he is sober now and in a good place and I don't want to punish him for a disease that he is not responsible for.

    We aren't rich but have done well and have several properties and our boys will get a nice inheritance.
  13. bluebell

    bluebell Active Member

    I'm leaving my son a lump sum (percentage of a life insurance policy) of 25K. My daughter gets the rest. Which although not a huge number, every day I keep socking away most of my money for hopefully early retirement results in a potentially larger inheritance for her. Also, if her father and I were to die at the same time would probably mean an accident so several AD policies would pay out as well. Of course that could change as my son changes. And hopefully will for the better someday. And I hope that we do not die at the same time. My daughter would be completely devastated!
  14. OTE

    OTE Guest

    The more I think about the attorney's comment to you the more it bothers me. A lawyer sits in classes about estates and trusts. He/ she knows its about the wishes of the person with the money. How such a person could suggest that its the child"s right to do with it as he chooses is contrary to all that training. The training is that its the attorney's job to use the law to make your wishes happen. As a professional I'm just stunned. I have to suggest that you consider another attorney.
  15. Jabberwockey

    Jabberwockey Well-Known Member

    @Lil and I haven't actually discussed this yet to a significant degree. We have made casual comments back and forth and although our son is doing ok right now, we'd probably end up giving him a small 5K or 10K lump sum and the rest would go in a trust fund paying out monthly. He is doing much better but the worry is still there. Add to that the fact that he's prone to binge spending and we still worry about him. Hopefully, before we die, he will have gotten himself more together and this might change but this seems the most reasonable course of action for us.

    We only have the one child but I can see where a rift would be caused between sibs when one gets more than the other although if we had another child, I'd have no problem docking our current son's inheritance a bit. Call it a Cost of Dealing with You deduction! No idea how Lil would react to this but its a moot point anyway. Not like we're in danger of having another any time soon.
  16. bluebell

    bluebell Active Member

    My attorney didn't make any comments? Are you referring to OP?
  17. EarthIsHard

    EarthIsHard Member

    'Call it a Cost of Dealing with You deduction! '
    Thanks a good one Jabber:)
  18. OTE

    OTE Guest

    Sorry Bluebell had you on my mind obviously,

    I meant Trying To Be Strong in the original post here... Last 4 lines of original post. Actually only here because I can't understand that.
  19. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Ever hear the old expression, "The cobbler's children have no shoes"? Well the lawyer's family has no Will - that's Jabber and I. We've never done Wills. When our son was under 18 we figured it was no big deal because he'd have a guardian appointed. Even now, if we die separately, everything goes to each other and we didn't have much that wasn't a life insurance policy with each other named beneficiary anyway. But if we did both go down together in a plane crash or something...well...son would have quite a windfall.

    We really should have a will. The plan was always a trust with a payout that would pay for higher education or a small income monthly...then the rest at a later age, 30 was the age we said. I still think that's a good idea.

    I'll get around to it. Eventually. :rolleyes:
  20. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hi RN. I read your post and thought about it overnight. I don't look at what we did as punishment... more like an early payout on an inheritance.

    My younger daughter really resented what we spent on our older daughter. Had it been a small amount she wouldn't have cared but it was a six figure amount. She thought that we were just throwing the money away since our older daughter obviously didn't want to get sober.

    Our solution went a long way towards healing the rift between the two of them. My younger daughter thought it was fair and was happy that the older one was fine with the arrangement.