My son is a mess; he’s an alcoholic and just can’t get himself straightened out. It’s embarrassing. Do I really need to tell my estate planning attorney? I really don’t want anyone to know.
Estate Planning Customization Requires Family and Financial Information
We know that it’s uncomfortable to talk about embarrassing family situations, including addictions such as alcoholism; but it’s necessary. There is much your estate planning attorney can do to customize your estate plan to help your loved ones and to protect you. If your plan isn’t customized to your particular situation, it won’t work.
It’s also necessary to disclose family dynamics, health issues, potential divorce situations, financial difficulties, and the like. It all factors into the design and implementation of a comprehensive estate plan. Your estate planning attorney will ask you to fill out written forms and then ask you questions during your estate plan design meeting. The more information that you disclose, the better your estate planning attorney can diagnosis your needs and design an estate plan that matches your needs.
Your Estate Planning Attorney has Heard it Before
Your estate planning attorney won’t judge you, and you can be sure that he or she has previously heard similar stories. We, as humans, are more alike, and experience more similar situations, than we know.
In addition, rest assured that all your discussions will be kept in confidence by your attorney.
How Your Estate Planning Attorney Can Help
If your estate planning attorney is aware of an addictive disorder, she will take it into consideration when designing your plan.
For example, it would likely be unwise to appoint an alcoholic to a position as a trusted helper such as personal representative (i.e. executor), trustee, guardian for minor children, or power of attorney agent.
In addition, if the person with the addiction is a beneficiary, an outright inheritance could make the problem worse or even kill him or her. Instead, your attorney can design a life-time protected trust with a professional trustee. Assets would be distributed to benefit your beneficiary, but not directly to him. For example, the rent would be paid directly to the landlord and the medical bills would be paid directly to the medical provider.
If you’re in the estate planning process, disclose uncomfortable family, health, and financial issues to your estate planning attorney. You can trust him or her to keep your confidences and to use the information to help you and your beneficiaries.