How do I provide for my child, who has an addiction, in my Will?
Sadly, many families face the devastating consequences of loved ones suffering from addiction. It is often the cause of irrevocable harm to relationships and destruction of family units. Addiction has many forms, and it typically involves substance abuse, such as drugs or alcohol, or activities such as gambling.
A Report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare confirmed that there has been a rapid increase in the number of deaths involving methamphetamine (“meth”). Deaths involving meth were four times higher in 2017 than in 1999. The 2019 findings of the Illicit Drug Reporting System and the Ecstasy and Related Drugs Reporting System showed that drugs are becoming easier to obtain, often through social network transactions, where drug purchases were mostly arranged on Facebook, WhatsApp, SnapChat, Grindr and Tinder.
Surprisingly, alcohol consumption has been declining. However, it was found that the majority of Australians, from as young as 14 years old, consume alcohol.
Your child may be suffering from personal difficulties such as alcoholism, or drug addiction. While you are alive you can assist your children as much as you possibly can. However, what happens to your child, who suffers from an addiction, after you die?
You would probably prefer not to fund these habits by giving them money. This does not mean that you have to disinherit them, in order to protect them. The devastating effects of addiction can be reduced by you by ensuring that you have an appropriate Will. If you do not provide for a child in your Will, he/she decide to make a claim against your Estate, by way of a Family Provision Claim.
One of the ways to protect your child with an addiction is by creating a Testamentary Trust in your Will. This will enable the Trustees to take a protective approach. The Trustees may provide for your child’s ongoing maintenance, and pay for appropriate programs, or for professional help, such as rehabilitation. You may also address these issues in a Deed of Wishes, which will guide your Trustees with the administration of your funds.
We recommend that you seek estate planning advice from specialists. You may feel helpless and uncomfortable about your child’s addiction, or even blame yourself. This is a normal and common parental reaction. However, it is important that you share this information with your lawyer to enable them to give you the best advice. If you have any questions about your Will or how to provide for a child with an addiction, then please call the Team at Butlers.
If your child, a family member, or someone you know, suffers from an addition, then you/they may:
- call Alcoholics Anonymous on 1300 222 222
- visit Lifeline at https://www.lifeline.org.au/ or call on 13 11 14
- call Drug ARM on 1300 656 800
- visit ReachOut Australia at https://au.reachout.com/tough-times/addiction
- call Alcohol and Drug Information Services Western Australia on 1800 198 024 (Regional) or (08) 9442 5000 (Metropolitan)
We look forward to providing you with confidential and effective service to ensure that your Will does what you want it to do.