Thompson Law Group, P.C.

Publisher's estate plan shows how trusts can have stipulations

Pennsylvanians who are taking the necessary steps for comprehensive estate planning will have their own goals in mind when they do so. Situations vary and knowing how best to formulate the document is essential. This is true whether there are significant assets, a business, young children who must be cared for, loved ones who have special needs, and even pets who are of concern to the person creating the plan. Wills, trusts and other documents can be used to achieve the desired ends. Even those who have nothing in common with a famous person can use that person's strategies as a guideline to create their own plan and what is possible.

The recently deceased founder of Playboy, Hugh Hefner, had a unique set of criteria in the trust for his wife and children. Mr. Hefner was adamantly against drug and alcohol use. In his trust, he made certain that his widow and children will make certain to remain free of addiction. If they are found to be addicted, they will not receive the proceeds from the trust. Mr. Hefner had four children who are subject to this stipulation along with his widow.

The trustee will have the right to stop distributions from the trust if it is believed that recipient is abusing drugs - legal or not - or alcohol. The trustee also has the right to order that the beneficiary be tested to determine the presence of illegal substances. Mr. Hefner made certain that if there is an issue with addiction, the beneficiary will not be cut off forever. If the person undergoes treatment and remains free of any substances for 12 months, the distributions will restart. The trustee has discretion when determining if the beneficiary if addicted and cannot care of him or herself.

People who are thinking about an estate plan might not realize the options they have available to protect their loved ones and shield the testator's assets from being depleted by addiction or misuse. Even those who are not concerned about loved ones having these issues should be aware of how they can have their estate planning goals put into action. A legal professional can be of assistance in formulating a document that will provide for loves ones with various requirements in the document.

Source:, "Hugh Hefner's Trust Instructs Heirs to Just Say No to Drugs and Alcohol," Anna Sulkin, Dec. 21, 2017

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