Estate planning protects inheritance of husband with gambling problem

Question: At 73, my estate planning is way overdue. I've put it off because I don't know what to do about my husband, who has a gambling addiction. For the past 15 years, we agreed all of our money would be kept in my account, in my name only, so that he couldn't gamble with it. But what happens if he outlives me? My estate plan has to be set up so that he can't gamble away what I leave him. We have two adult daughters. Do you have suggestions?

Answer: Your estate planning should include a spendthrift trust set up for your husband's benefit. You can leave money for him in the trust, but someone else must be in charge of the trust. The money in the trust will be unavailable to him. The trustee will distribute the funds to your husband for his legitimate needs.

You will need to find a trustee. Trust companies may serve if assets meet a minimum level. If your assets are substantial, interview a few trust companies to see if they will serve upon your death or disability.

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