Q&A - Can I stop my gambler son from squandering his inheritance when I die?

Q:    I am a widow with one son and daughter, who are equal beneficiaries of my Will. However, at the start of the Covid pandemic lockdown my son began gambling, and my daughter and I believe he is now an addict. He refuses to discuss it or accept that he has a problem. I am worried that if he does not get help, he will just squander away his inheritance when I die. Is there any way I can protect what I leave him?

A:    You could set up a family trust in which you can lay out exactly how your son would be able to receive his inheritance. It would also protect the assets you leave him from any relationships he may form with undesirable people as a result of his addiction.

There are several different types of trusts; Bare Trusts, Interest in Possession Trusts; Discretionary Trusts; Settlor-interested Trusts; Non-resident Trusts. A Discretionary Trust is usually set up for those who are unable to deal with money or assets themselves, so that would probably be your best option bearing in mind your son’s gambling problem.

The specific requirements of a family trust are laid out in a document called a Trust Deed. Set up by a solicitor, this would give the names of the trustees and beneficiaries, provide a list of the property, funds and assets to be held within the trust, and outline how the trust should be administered.  The Trustee(s) would decide the best way the income and/or capital should be used for the recipient beneficiary or beneficiaries. Whilst the Trustee(s) must keep beneficiaries informed and provide Trust accounts, they do not have to account in any way for reasons relating to their decision-making process. As a Trustee can also be a beneficiary of a Will you may wish to appoint your daughter as a Trustee. Another option could be a solicitor.

Article 20/09/2021

This question has been answered by Jessica Wright, a Solicitor with GHP Legal.  If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible, and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients.  In accordance with government guidelines, some of our lawyers are currently working remotely which means you may not now receive a response as promptly as you may expect. Please kindly bear with us and we will respond as soon as we are able.

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Jessica Wright

Jessica Wright


Part of our Probate, Wills, Tax and Trusts team in Oswestry.

Ulia Choudhry

Ulia Choudhry


A Partner who specialises in Probate, Wills, Trusts and Tax and is based in Wrexham