People in Distress May Sign Away Inheritance

November 12, 2020

A parent may be shocked when their child gives away their inheritance for some quick money.

A recent MarketWatch article described the anguish of being distressed and giving up your inheritance for some quick money in "My drug-addicted friend signed away his $800,000 inheritance to his brother — now he’s clean, can he get it back?"

A reader wrote in with a story about a friend who inherited $800,000 from his father's will. The friend was addicted to drugs and agreed to sign his rights to the inheritance away to his own brother for only $10,000.

Now that the friend is sober, the reader wonders whether there is any way to get the inheritance back.

The column writer suggests that the friend hire an attorney and sue the brother for fraud based on the premise that he knowingly took advantage of someone who was mentally incapacitated. That might work in some cases.

But not so fast.

There are some states and courts that are not quick to undo agreements that drug addicts voluntarily enter into, especially if it cannot be proven they were high at the time of making the agreement.

This is the type of scenario about which many parents have nightmares, when it comes to their addicted children. Leaving the child an inheritance outright can quickly be lost.

Fortunately, there are ways to avoid the problem altogether without disinheriting the drug-addicted child. A trust can be used to protect the inheritance with a trustee who is granted the discretion to only distribute money when the child is able to handle it.

An estate planning attorney or trust attorney can guide you in a plan that fits your unique circumstances. Call (443) 470-3599 today and schedule a consultation with Maryland Attorney Britt L. Stouffer to learn more about Estate or Elder Law and how she can help you.

Reference: MarketWatch (Jan. 24, 2017) "My drug-addicted friend signed away his $800,000 inheritance to his brother — now he’s clean, can he get it back?"

Suggested Key Words: Estate Planning, Trusts

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