Hugh Hefner’s Trust Reveals He Prohibits Drug Abuse By Family Members

Categorize this one under “Didn’t see that one coming,” but Hugh Hefner’s estate planning included a little used power:

The Playboy founder had a clause in his trust blocking any beneficiaries — widow Crystal, daughter Christie and sons David, Marston and Cooper — from access to his cash if they abuse drugs or alcohol.

Either through a Last Will (or preferably a trust vehicle), anyone can place restrictions on the inheritance they leave. In Hefner’s estate planning, he employed a trust:

Any beneficiary would be blocked “if the trustees reasonably believe that … [the beneficiary] routinely or frequently uses or consumes any illegal substance so as to be physically or psychologically dependent upon that substance, or is clinically dependent upon the use or consumption of alcohol or any other legal drug or chemical substance that is not prescribed by a board certified medical doctor or psychiatrist in a current program of treatment supervised by such doctor or psychiatrist.”

Trustees can also request drug testing and treatment if they suspect substance abuse.

This power is little employed. And it does not need be a “stick” like this one: you do this, you lose your distribution. It can also be a carrot: you complete college, your get an education. Similarly, you can restrict the use of the inheritance to things like: buying a home, starting a new business, or attending college.

This is a power I often recommend to clients with family members which have a history of drug and alcohol addiction.