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Estate Planning & Probate Specialists

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Estate planning helps children with mental illness, addiction

The parents of children who are struggling with mental illness or addiction are usually understandably preoccupied with taking care of their children. Unfortunately, this means that, in many cases, they are too busy to contemplate who will care for their children years down the road after they have passed away. A couple of estate planning tips may help these parents to protect their children’s best interests long term in Texas.

A trust is one component of an estate plan that may prove beneficial for parents whose children have addictions or mental illnesses. A trust offers the benefit of helping a family to avoid probate and making sure that the intended beneficiaries of the assets in the trust are named. A trust is also helpful for minimizing taxes.

The trust for a parent with a child with a mental illness or addiction would need to feature additional special-purpose language as well. For instance, parents may wish to include language allowing the trustee to handle both the bad and the good, which may mean creating incentives for the child to achieve particular requirements or goals to get distributions from the trust. An example of an incentive would be for an addicted child to stay sober or for a child with a mental illness to stay on certain medications in order to get distributions.

Estate planning can be complicated for any family in Texas but especially for families with children who have special circumstances, such as mental illness or addiction. However, an attorney can walk parents through the process of creating estate plans that meet their needs. Through well-thought-out estate planning, it is possible to make sure that children remain protected from their addictions/illnesses in the future.  

Source:, “Estate Planning For Children Struggling With Addiction“, Feb. 14, 2017