Home Economics: My brother has a gambling addiction — should our parents consider this when making their will?

by Raj Das

Our property finance expert answers your questions

Question: My brother has a gambling addiction. A lot of his own money, along with family and friends’ money, has been given to bookmakers in the past. My parents have included him in their will, of which I am an executor. It would be devastating for my sibling and me to see him use his share for this purpose. I’ve never suggested my parents write him out of the will but would like to know if there are ways the will can be written which can mitigate the risk people like him face of spending a lump sum in a couple of days. Could it specify using the funds only to purchase property, ensuring he doesn’t get his hands on cash?

Having a loved one who struggles with a gambling addiction can be incredibly challenging, especially when it comes to matters of estate planning. You want to ensure that their share of the inheritance is protected and used responsibly, rather than potentially fueling their addiction. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help mitigate this risk.

One option you may consider is the creation of a trust. A trust is a legal entity that holds assets for the benefit of a specified individual or group of individuals. By including specific provisions in the trust, such as restrictions on the use of funds or specifying that the funds can only be used for the purchase of property, you can help protect the inheritance from being squandered on gambling.

When setting up the trust, you can appoint yourself as the trustee, giving you the responsibility of managing and distributing the funds in accordance with the terms outlined in the trust document. It would be advisable to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney who can guide you through the process and ensure that the trust is structured in a way that aligns with your intentions.

Additionally, it may be beneficial to discuss your concerns with your parents and siblings. Open communication can help foster understanding and ensure that everyone is on the same page regarding the intended use of the inheritance. By involving other family members in the conversation, you can work together to support your brother and help him seek the necessary treatment for his addiction.

It’s important to approach this situation with empathy and compassion. Addiction is a complex issue, and it may take professional help and ongoing support for your brother to overcome his gambling problem. Offering resources and assistance, such as connecting him with counseling services or support groups, can be helpful in his journey to recovery.

In conclusion, by creating a trust with specific provisions regarding the use of funds, you can help safeguard your brother’s inheritance and ensure that it is used responsibly. However, it’s crucial to approach this matter with sensitivity and seek professional advice to ensure the best outcome for all parties involved.

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