Legal Case Study

Making Provisions in a Will for a Child with Addiction Issues

The problem

Our clients wanted to provide for their grown-up children in their wills but were concerned a large inheritance might cause their daughter, who struggled with addiction, to relapse.

The process

We worked with the clients to write wills with a discretionary trust built in.

How this helped

Our clients wanted to write new wills to ensure their estate would pass to their grown-up children on their deaths. However, they had concerns about how a large inheritance might affect their daughter.

The couples’ daughter had struggled with addiction issues for most of her adult life. As a result of this, she had developed mental health issues and was known to be bad with money. Our clients were concerned that inheriting a lump sum could put her at risk of relapsing into the risky behaviours associated with her addiction.

Despite these significant concerns, our clients very much wanted to ensure that money would be available to their daughter if she needed it.

We suggested that the clients include a discretionary trust in their wills. They could then put a sum of money into the trust with all three of their children as potential beneficiaries.

No one beneficiary of a discretionary trust has any absolute right to the money in the trust, which meant that none of their children, including their daughter, would be able to demand a particular amount or share. Rather, the appointed trustees would need to approve any requests for money to be released.

Our clients instructed their trustees (they’d chosen their two other children to fulfil this role) to pay money from the trust to their daughter as and when she needed it. The trust also allowed for money to be paid directly to other organisations for the benefit of their daughter, for example landlords, care facilities or treatment centres.

Creating this discretionary trust in their wills gave our clients the peace of mind that all their children would be provided for, without putting their vulnerable daughter at unnecessary risk.

The result

The discretionary trust meant our clients were assured their daughter would still be provided for after their deaths, but without the concern that their money could be used to fund unhealthy lifestyle choices.

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