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Estate Planning For Beneficiaries With Mental Illness

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 19.1% (nearly 1 in 5) of U.S. adults experience mental illness annually. Historically, discussions surrounding mental illness were taboo and off-limits. However, thanks to the hard work of mental health professionals and a generally greater awareness of the causes of mental illness, some, but not all, of the stigma surrounding mental illness has started to abate. Nevertheless, the emotional and frequent financial challenges that come with a mental health diagnosis unfortunately remain.

Mental health issues are not rare. The incidence of mental health illness is at least as prevalent as any other disease. When I speak with clients about their estate planning needs and the financial needs of a mentally ill family member there is frequently relief on the client’s part. Discussing mental illness can be painful. It’s important to find experienced estate planning professionals that understand the way the complexities and stressors of a client’s mental health concerns can weigh on an entire family.

Our law firm has many years of experience assisting client’s suffering from mental illness and their families develop a family-centered estate planning experience tailored to their specific needs and objectives. Common considerations include:

  • Who should manage money and other assets for my ill spouse or family member?
  • Will my spouse or family member possibly need to qualify for governmental assistance?
  • How can I assure my spouse or family member has housing and other means of support?
  • How can I protect my surviving family member from reckless spending, impulsive behavior, gambling or substance abuse?

For years, our firm has worked with mental health professionals, families and patients themselves the determine the best solution to provide for the financial security of mentally ill beneficiaries. We work with many mental health diagnoses, including schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder (both bipolar I and II), anxiety disorder, substance abuse and others.

If you’re concerned about the financial well-being of a loved one after your death, whether it’s a spouse or child, we can help.

James E. Hickmon PA, North Carolina Estate Planning & Fiduciary Law Site Icon


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