Massachusetts Estate Planning & Asset Protection Blog

Dennis Sullivan & Associates

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Tips for Visiting an Elder Loved One with Dementia at Their Nursing Home

Posted by Dennis Sullivan & Associates on Sun, Jan 26, 2020

P42.Sullivan.Dec2Research tells us that nearly every American family today has been touched by dementia, including its most common form of Alzheimer’s Disease. Dementia cuts across every social and economic demographic, and currently impacts millions of seniors and their loved ones. It is characterized by severe memory loss, diminished communication skills, and poor judgment. Each of these issues can make family relationships more complicated and challenging. We know that this can cause additional frustration at all times throughout the year, but especially during the holiday season and winter.  

No matter what memory issues your loved one is facing, there is no reason to avoid visiting an elder loved one with dementia at his or her nursing home. Know that seniors with dementia can still enjoy visits from family and friends in the moment, regardless of whether they will remember it later. The point is that spending quality time with them contributes to their well-being and offers you the opportunity to experience time with loved ones.

There are considerations, however, that you need to think about before visiting a loved one in a skilled facility. What are the hours for visiting? Are there restrictions to what you can bring? Are there triggers that can upset your loved one? Let us share several tips to consider when visiting.

First, plan ahead and coordinate with nursing home staff to not interrupt the elder person’s routine or activity time. Bring them thoughtful items, like flowers, pictures, familiar objects and even favorite foods, if the dietitian agrees. Introduce yourself to your loved one’s caregivers and announce your presence, “Hi Mom, it’s me, Mary.” If your loved one seems agitated, speak in soothing tones about the weather or other mundane topics to divert his or her attention and create rapport.

It can be helpful to pre-plan a list of things to talk about, as it is likely the elder adult won’t have much information to share. Introducing light activities can also keep the visit flowing smoothly. Consider taking them on a walk around the nursing home facility or sit on a bench in a garden, if the facility has one and it is safe for your loved one to go outside. Remember, some dementia patients are prone to wandering and they may need to remain in a safe environment.

Photo albums or Facebook pictures can stimulate conversation and spark memories. A visit is also an opportunity to gauge the elder loved one’s health and access potential warning signs of elder abuse. Unfortunately, seniors with dementia are particularly vulnerable to physical abuse, neglect, and theft because they are unlikely to remember or be believed. =

There is never a wrong time to visit loved ones in a skilled nursing facility. We know this article may raise more questions than it answers.

For more on nursing home, health care decision-making documents and planning for the future, attend one of our free Trust, Estate and Asset Protection Seminars.

Do not wait to schedule a meeting with our experienced long-term care team on any of the elder law questions you have. We are here for you to help you navigate this process.

Tags: assisted living, seniors, family, Skilled Care

Critical Estate Planning Considerations In The New Year

Posted by Dennis Sullivan & Associates on Fri, Jan 24, 2020

P42.Sullivan.JanBlog1January is an exciting time when we can come together with our loved ones and set our goals for the upcoming year. From healthy lifestyle changes and setting new financial goals to spending more time with family or planning for retirement, the New Year holds special meaning to each of us. As you already know, this year is special as this New Year marks not just the start of a new year, but the start of a new decade. 

As you reflect on the resolutions you have set for yourself for 2020, we ask you how many of them, if any, focus on your estate planning? Unfortunately, we see year in and year out that many of our clients do not make their estate plans a priority. Instead, they treat their planning as a “one time” issue and do not revisit it each year to ensure that it reflects their goals.

There are significant issues with this type of thinking. While the goal is for your estate plan to help you through any and all circumstances, things change. These could be changes in your personal life or your financial planning, but they could also originate with both the federal and state laws that govern your planning. The key is to be proactive and frequently check in with your estate planning attorney to ensure that your goals for yourself, your loved ones, your business, and your legacy, may still be achieved.

In fact, you may not realize that over 86% of trust agreements do not work. You may find this to be a staggering statistic, and we would agree with you. What could, perhaps, be the bigger question is: Why do they fail? This New Year, we want you to make it a priority to learn the issues behind many trust agreements that we see. In fact, you may discover where problems typically exist and the opportunities you have to improve your planning with our free guide. Just click this link to access it right now, at no charge!

We know this can be concerning to read. After all, when you worked with your estate planning attorney you invested a significant amount of time and money to your plan. You want it to work, and to learn it may not is devastating. This is just one of the reasons why we have developed our own unique estate planning process that combines both education and counseling so that we may understand your planning goals and ensure your estate plan will not fail. You may contact us to schedule a meeting to speak with us personally about your goals and your estate plan.

You do not have to wait, however, for your first meeting with us. You can get started right now. We can provide you with our unique, proven, 19-point analysis of your existing estate plan. Our unique 19-Point Trust, Estate and Asset Protection analysis provides you with the ability to identify and fix hidden mistakes in existing planning. It may surprise you to learn that during this review, either on your own or with us in our office, we often find more than 9 mistakes! 

If you do not have a plan, we will help you develop a plan based on your personal goals and objectives. The key is to not put off this critical planning this New Year. We do not just create trust documents. Instead, most importantly, we help people discover, review, and analyze estate plans to make sure that their existing plan can provide them with peace of mind and the level of protection that they would like for themselves and their family.

We even go one step further because we are committed to ensuring that you are protected in all circumstances. We provide Discovery Workshops that you may register for to learn more about our unique process and what you truly need. These are free workshops on trust, estate, and asset protection. You are welcome to register by calling 800-964-4295 or registering on 

Do not let these opportunities pass you by. Start the New Year by taking control of your estate planning and your legacy and lifetime protections.

Tags: Estate Planning, Elder Law, estate tax, New Year's Resolutions, Metro West Estate Plan, 2020

Key Considerations for Your Aging Parents in Their First Estate Planning Meeting

Posted by Dennis Sullivan & Associates on Mon, Dec 16, 2019

P42.Sullivan.DecBlog1Is your parent’s estate plan current? Does it reflect their wishes for what they want for their person, their family, and their legacy, should they become incapacitated or pass away? Unfortunately, today, many estate plans for us, as well as our parents, are not frequently updated and, as a result, are not an accurate reflection of our wishes.

This can be a dangerous proposition. Perhaps even more concerning, however, is when your parents, or you, do not have any estate planning at all. Without planning your parents may be at risk of not being able to choose their decision makers for healthcare and financial decisions, or make plans that create the legacy they want to leave to those they love.

There are numerous reasons why your parents may not have completed their estate planning but we often find it is because people simply put off planning. They get busy, it is not a priority, and they do not realize they need it until it is too late. Our goal is to encourage you to work with your parents to create their estate plan with their attorney, and to address any concerns they may have about this first meeting early on.

The first question your parents may want to ask their attorney is his or her experience in estate planning for elderly clients. Many attorneys do not specialize in estate plans that are designed to meet the special legal needs of elderly couples. Let us share an example with you here.

For instance, the majority of your parents’ assets may be invested in separate Individual Retirement Accounts. If this is a second marriage for your parent, it may not be advisable for the parent to simply name the surviving spouse as the beneficiary of the IRAs. This is because the surviving spouse may not understand the need for naming all of the children of both marriages as the beneficiaries of the survivor’s IRA. Instead, the surviving parent may simply leave all of the first spouse’s IRA with the survivor’s IRA to his or her children as the beneficiary of the combined IRA’s.  Your parents need an attorney experienced in drafting specialized IRA trusts to protect all involved and to reach your parents’ goals.

The second question you parents may want to ask their attorney is about his or her specialized education and training in estate planning. How many years has the attorney specialized in estate planning? What does his or her practice focus on? What about his or her focus on elder law? While initially you may only think of estate planning, bear in mind, elder law encompasses the special needs of the elderly such as Medicaid planning for married couples.  

These are just a few of the questions and ideas we want to share with you as you work with your parents on their estate planning goals. There is never a wrong time to talk to your parents about these issues and the plan forward for the future.

At Dennis Sullivan & Associates we help family plan for the future, and with our lifetime protection program, and our Unique 19 point Trust, Estate & Asset Protection Analysis, we emphasize making sure the estate plan continues to meet the needs of all involved.

To discover what your estate planning options are, attend a free Trust, Estate and Asset Protection Seminar, and speak with one of our attorneys to discuss your goals for yourself, your loved ones, and for your parents.

Tags: Estate Planning, Lifetime Protection Program, Elder Law, seniors, family, trusts, Estate Planning Tip, estate

5 Online Safety For Seniors This ‘Cyber Monday’

Posted by Dennis Sullivan & Associates on Mon, Nov 25, 2019

P42.Sullivan.NovBlog3“Cyber Monday” is a great way for seniors to avoid the crush of crowded stores this holiday season. It is the first Monday after Thanksgiving Day and, as the name implies, Cyber Monday is all about cyber, or online, sales. Internet shoppers can not only find attractive deals on holiday gift items, but they can do so from the comfort of their homes. 

Unfortunately, scammers will also try to take advantage of the high-volume shopping event, and seniors are at an elevated risk. According to the FBI, seniors are targeted by fraudsters because they typically have access to money, are more easily deceived than younger tech savvy people, and they are less likely to report being scammed. 

While this sounds like a difficult issue to overcome, the good news is that older adults can take steps to protect themselves before Cyber Monday. Let us share a few of those steps with you right now.

  1. Update Security Software. Seniors should shop from their own computers, or from a trusted friend or family member’s computer, and make sure it has up-to-date security software. This can be as simple as clicking an update button on an existing program, or for your entire operating system. Do not be afraid to ask for help! Many cybersecurity tools are free, and can help protect against online threats, especially if seniors are receiving email spam and visiting new websites.


  1. Change Passwords. Passwords are a major line of defense against online fraud, but having weak passwords or one all-encompassing password for multiple sites can be a vulnerability. Seniors should  consider preemptively changing their existing passwords ahead of Cyber Monday, make them different and difficult for hackers or hacker programs to decode. Keep a written list near your computer for convenience.


  1. Shop on Familiar Websites. One of the best ways to find online shopping deals and protect against would-be scammers, is to shop from familiar websites that also invest in security. This can include Amazon, Walmart, or any of your favorite neighborhood stores. 


  1. Use Credit Cards. Shopping with credit cards offers an additional layer of protection versus debit cards or providing online access to your checking account. A credit card company is separate from a personal bank account, and often comes with identity theft protections.


  1. Share As Little As Possible. No matter how legitimate an email or pop-up ad appears, seniors should never volunteer their personal or financial information. Email and pop-up scams might offer instant contest winnings, or claim an urgent payment is necessary, but it is best not to respond. If necessary, call the company for more information and find the number to call from your own independent search. 

Identify theft, financial exploitation, and fraud, are all issues that each of us should be aware of. This is especially true for seniors who may feel isolated from family members and may not completely understand the technology they use.

If this article raises any questions for you and your loved ones, we encourage you to talk to us about how to create a comprehensive estate plan that ensures everyone involved is best protected.

Tags: holiday, online safety, computers

10 Family Caregiver Facts You Probably Did Not Know

Posted by Dennis Sullivan & Associates on Sun, Nov 24, 2019

P42.Sullivan.NovBlog2November is National Family Caregiving Awareness Month, and there is plenty to learn and celebrate. A family caregiver, sometimes called an informal caregiver, is an unpaid relative of a dependent person, such as a parent, adult child or spouse. They can also be friends, neighbors, and other compassionate care providers of dependent people, young and old. Their immense social contributions first sparked the month-long awareness campaign in 1994, and every U.S. president since has embraced them.

In honor of family caregivers around the country, let us share 10 facts you should know this November, and throughout the year.


  1. There were nearly 44 million Americans who provided unpaid care to a dependent loved one over the past 12 months.


  1. Family caregivers account for a critical social safety net for millions of vulnerable people worth an estimated $470 billion in economic value every year.


  1. Even with access to hospitals and social welfare programs, families typically bear the brunt of providing everyday care to those in need.


  1. About 75 percent of all family caregivers are female, and they spend as much as 50 percent more time providing care than male caregivers.


  1. The average age of a family caregiver is 49 years old.


  1. The average duration of a family caregiver’s role is about 4 years, although a quarter of all caregivers provide dependent care for more than 5 years.


  1. On average, family caregivers spend about 24 hours per week providing care, and nearly 1 in 4 caregivers spends at least 41 hours providing dependent care.


  1. Forty-six percent of family caregivers perform medical and nursing tasks.


  1. Ninety-six percent of caregivers help with daily living activities, such as personal hygiene, dressing and bathing, as well as so-called instrumental activities like administering medicines, grocery shopping and transportation. 


Surveys show unpaid caregivers suffer, on average, a 26 percent reduction in positive activities in their daily lives as a result of their caregiving responsibilities, and the effect is three times greater in their personal lives than in their professional lives.

Caring for a dependent loved one is an act of sacrifice and compassion. There are resources and options available for caregivers who need support. Do not wait to attend a seminar to learn more information on how we can help you at this time.

Tags: Estate Planning, non-family caregivers, family, Estate Planning Tip, caretaker, care costs

The Ins and Outs of VA Pension

Posted by Dennis Sullivan & Associates on Sat, Nov 23, 2019

P42.Sullivan.NovBlog1Did you know there have been significant revisions to the non-service connected pension rules? The Department of Veterans Affairs has issued new rule changes regarding the eligibility for a wartime veteran and his or her surviving spouse’s non-service connected pension. The new rules apply if the veteran had 90 days or more of active duty, one day of which was during wartime. 

These new rules began October 18, 2018. The new rules provide that the claimant and his or her spouse cannot have countable assets in excess of $126,420. An exception is if the claimant’s primary residence does not exceed two acres, unless the additional acreage is not marketable. It does not matter that the claimant is not residing in his or her primary residence or is renting the primary residence. The rental income, however, will be counted for IVAC purposes. 

The new rules also impose a 36 month look-back period for transferred assets. The transfer of a countable asset during the 36 month period before applying for assistance will trigger a penalty period up to 5 years. In calculating the length of the penalty period, the value of the covered asset is divided by the annual pension rate for a veteran in need of aid and attendance with one dependent and divided by 12. 

The penalty period begins on the first day of the month that follows the date of the transfer. The penalty period can last up to five years. Fortunately, the new rule provides that if some or all of the claimant’s countable assets are returned to the claimant before the date of the claim for VA assistance or within 60 days after the date of the disqualification notice, then the VA will recalculate or eliminate the penalty period. 

Further, the purchase of an annuity after October 18, 2018, within 36 months of the date of the application for VA assistance will give rise to this penalty period. Certain purchased annuities that can be liquidated are not considered a transfer that will be penalized. In addition, the pension benefit is reduced to $90 a month if the veteran is in a nursing home and is being provided Medicaid services.

This is an important resource that is available to servicemen and women, as well as their dependents. To learn more about Veterans' Benefits, nursing home coverage and community-based care, sign up for a free seminar Today.  Do not wait to learn more with Dennis Sullivan & Associates to discover how you may be able to help you and your loved ones.

Tags: veterans benefits, wartime veteran, Veteran, Estate Planning Tip, Massachusetts, Estate Planning Recommendations, Dennis Sullivan


Posted by Dennis Sullivan & Associates on Sun, Nov 10, 2019


As a community-based legal practice, the Estate Planning & Asset Protection Law Center of Dennis Sullivan & Associates recognizes the benefits our community receives, from the abundance of nonprofit organizations providing employment, services to programs throughout our region. For many this is our community of choice. The varied cultural organizations, high quality medical facilities, and public and private colleges/universities provide meaningful opportunities and make our lives more productive. It doesn’t matter if you live in Metro West, Greater Boston, Worcester, Central Massachusetts, Cape Cod, or New England in general, when these public benefit organizations, flourish, our families, and communities do as well.

To perform at maximum efficiency and deliver the most benefit, non-profit entities need funds over and above the fees collected and government support received. As a result, these organizations need our financial support to continue to provide quality services. We urge you to consider sharing some of your time, talent and yes, resources with these organizations both locally and globally. We are fortunate to be living in the greatest country in the world at a time of unprecedented economic success for many. There are those who are less fortunate, such as the homeless and the sick that need our help. At a time of so much we can be grateful for, there is much good we can do.

The federal tax code has long provided incentives for charitable giving via itemized tax deductions. It is exactly this private component of support, which keeps non-profit organizations moving forward. For those who do not itemize, or those who aren’t able to contribute financially, there remain ways you can also support non-profits. One is the time and talent factor; you can contribute your time and talent to organizations involved in areas of interest to you. You may also want to consider bunching your charitable deduction in one year with a charitable gift fund or donor advised fund.

Some changes to the federal and Massachusetts estate tax laws have dramatically decreased the amount of estate taxes payable, allowing you to keep more money. This is scheduled to change again in 2026, possibly 2021 depending on the results of the 2020 election, but for now, please think about sharing some of your time, talents, and social capital with non-profit organizations and causes that mean something to you, your family and this region.

You can do this as a gift from your estate as an endowment, in whole or in part, as an annual gift. As an example, a bequest of $20,000 to an organization’s permanent endowment, which earns a 5% return, provides about $1,000 per year forever. Using the Make-A-Wish Foundation as our model, a $150,000 gift during one’s lifetime, or from a will or trust upon death would support an annual gift to a deserving "Wish Kid" each and every year. Such experiences for the child and their family, according to physicians, have a definite positive effect towards a seriously ill child’s chances of living beyond expectations.

Options for what you would like to give from your estate can be determined after you have provided for loved ones, plus any other special designations. People have also named charitable organization beneficiaries of an IRA, a pension, or a life insurance policy. There are income, estate and gift tax state savings available here.

The variety of worthwhile organizations to support is vast. If you do not have a particular favorite or favorites, there are outstanding groups such as the Massachusetts and Rhode Island Make-A-Wish Foundation, the United Way, or the local Community Foundation. Here both the Boston Foundation and the Metro West Community Foundation, for example, work with a great array of non-profits. Would you like to help an important cause or leave a legacy to your community? If so please consider taking action to remember one or several worthy charities and/or non-profit organizations. Quite often, you’ll receive a benefit you didn’t expect: a sense of accomplishment that you are truly doing something which will make a lasting and positive impact in your region and community! This could have significant positive effects for you, your spouse, and your family's well being.

To discover more about taking part in this worthwhile endeavor, plan to attend a Free Discovery Workshop. Here in addition to opportunities to help others, you’ll also learn why 86% of all trust and estate plans are outdated and what you can do about it. Call 800-964-4295 (24/7) for upcoming dates, times and locations. The Estate Planning & Asset Protection Law Center of Dennis Sullivan & Associates has been helping people and their families in the community with FREE DISCOVERY Seminars over the past 17 years. Due to limited seating, seminars reservation are required.

Please visit or call now 800-964-4295 (24/7). Also while supplies last, seminars attendees receive one of our three books; Your American Legacy-Powerful

Strategies that Instill Lasting Values for Generations, or The Senior and Boomers Guide to Health Care Reform and Avoiding Nursing Home Poverty, or The Ten Biggest Estate and Asset Protection Planning Mistakes and How to Fix Them.

Act now!

Tags: Estate Planning, charitable remainder trust

6 Tips You Need to Read This Medicare Open Enrollment Period

Posted by Dennis Sullivan & Associates on Tue, Oct 22, 2019

P42.Sullivan.OctBlog4October means that the annual Medicare Open Enrollment period is here. This is the time of year when seniors, and those who are Medicare beneficiaries, can change, update, or select health care plans that would best meet their needs now and for the next year. This is a critical time to verify that you and your loved ones have the right health care plan that you need for your own unique health care needs.

This is so important, we're holding a Free Client Only Review October 29th on Medicare: What You Need to Know Now. Come hear an area expert on what you need to know before open enrollment is done. 

We know this can be a confusing time. Let us share with you six tips that you may use to help you find the information you need to help you make the right plan decision regarding your Medicare coverage. 

  1. Check your mail. You should have received in September by US mail your Plan Annual Notice of Change (ANOC). This will update you on the current offerings within your Medicare plan, as well as including any changes. You want to pay special attention to any changes that might impact your health care needs. If you did not receive this letter in the mail, you will want to go to the Medicare Plan Annual Notice of Change website to make sure you can review the information that applies to you.
  2. Understand the lingo. Medicare has its own acronyms and it’s own language when it comes to the Medicare program. For example, as we mentioned above, ANOC stands for the Plan Annual Notice of Change. There are also different types of Medicare, including Part A, B, and D. You want to learn what applies to you and not allow yourself to be confused by the jargon.
  3. Visit Medicare’s website. Medicare has gone to great lengths to be able to give you as many resources as possible. While they may not provide all of the answers, many of them will. Be sure to either go to your local Medicare office or go to the website to learn more about the resources provided and available for you. 
  4. Consider using the Medicare Plan Finder tool. Each year Medicare plans change and you may not know all that is available to you. Do not wait to go to the Medicare website and use this tool to learn more. It can show you the plans that are available in your location that match your specific health care needs. You may be surprised to learn that there are more plans available than there were last year or, by converse, that some plans have been removed.
  5. Check in on your estate planning documents. Right now, you are healthy and able to make these health care decisions for yourself. Consider the fact that you may not always have the capacity to do so. You will want to talk to your estate planning attorney about your durable power of attorney and your health care documents. You need to make sure that these are updated and give legal authority to your selected agents to be able to make these decisions for you should you not be able to make them yourself.
  6. Do not forget to consider long-term care needs as a part of this equation. Unfortunately, in almost all scenarios Medicare will not pay for the high costs of long-term care. The reason why is because Medicare is an acute payor system and most long-term care encompasses custodial care. This will not be covered by Medicare. This means that you need to think now about how you will pay for this cost of care. Do not hesitate to use our free reports, such as the How to Set the Stage for Your Medicaid Eligibility, to help you plan for what you may need now.

We know that these tips may cause you to have even more questions than you already did. Do not put off getting the answers you need during the short window of time for the annual Medicare Open Enrollment period. We encourage you to contact our office and sign up for a work shop to discuss both your health, estate planning, and elder law needs.

Tags: Medicare, Estate Planning, applying for medicare

Test Your Breast Cancer Knowledge and Access These Resources for Baby Boomers

Posted by Dennis Sullivan & Associates on Mon, Oct 21, 2019

P42.Sullivan.OctBlog3Breast cancer remains one of the most terrifying cancer diagnoses to receive. While this form of cancer impacts both women and men, it remains the second leading cause of death for women and is expected to kill 41,760 women this year. 

There remain many myths surrounding breast cancer. As we focus on National Breast Cancer Awareness in the month of October, we want to test your knowledge on this disease. Ask yourself on each of the following statements, is it a myth or a fact?

- Breast cancer is one of the most contagious forms of cancer.

- Mammograms spread cancer.

- Men never get breast cancer.

- Most women who get breast cancer have a family member diagnosed with it.

In fact, all of the above statements are myths. Further, what many people do not realize is that according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation “breast cancer death rates declined 40% from 1989 to 2016 among women. The progress is attributed to improvements in early detection.”  Baby Boomer women, however, do have an increased reason to be concerned, however, because the two most significant risk factors are gender and increased age.

Even though the disease mortality rate may be on the decline, this does not mitigate the situation when you or a loved one is diagnosed. You may be asking yourself: What can I do as a Baby Boomer, or an adult child, to help those I love? We would encourage you to consider these four resources:

  1. Learn more and engage with the “Beyond The Shock” Program. This is an initiative created to provide a twenty-four hour a day dedicated online support group where breast cancer survivors are available to answer questions, provide support, and create a strong community for newly diagnosed patients. 
  2. Consider the GriefShare Program. This support program was created for the survivors of those who battled cancer during their lifetime. It was created to be able to support those who have experienced the loss of a loved one and need support.
  3. Discuss your health care focused estate planning with your attorney. There is never a time when it is “too early” to plan but, especially in light of a new diagnosis, you never want to wait until it is “too late”. This means you need to create an estate plan while you are able to make your decisions that includes health care planning documents so that your loved ones will know who has the legal authority to make decisions and what your wishes are for those decisions. If you put off planning, then you may become incapacitated and unable to make these choices for yourself.
  4. Discuss with your attorney making charitable planning a priority. Many of our clients today add charitable planning goals and legacy gifts to their estate plan. There are specific charities, such as the ones mentioned above, and others like Locks of Love, who you are able to support during your lifetime or after you are gone. Whether you are creating this gift through your last will and testament or trust agreement, remember that it is critical to create this devise the way the intended charity would prefer. Do not wait to ask us more on how to create the right language in your estate planning documents.

We know just how difficult a time this can be. Whether you are planning for yourself or for a loved one, do not wait to contact us. Our knowledgeable legal team is ready, willing, and able to help you create an estate plan or long-term care plan to deal with any of the challenges you may be facing today, or well in the future.

Tags: Estate Planning, Health Care, Charitable Giving, health, cancer

What You Need to Know About Pet Trust Planning in Massachusetts

Posted by Dennis Sullivan & Associates on Fri, Oct 11, 2019

P42.Sullivan.OctBlog2A pet owner is naturally concerned regarding what will become of his or her pets and their welfare after the owner’s death. Did you know, however, that the owner’s last will and testament can direct who will take possession of owner’s pets at his or her death? The owner’s will or revocable trust can also direct that the owner’s personal representative or trustee to distribute sufficient estate or trust funds to care for and support the pet after the owner’s death until the pets die. 

Unfortunately, without planning for monitoring through a trust agreement, there may be no guarantee that the recipient of this money will actually expend the funds for the support of a deceased person’s pets. When planning for pets, a trust may be the best vehicle. It can be established during the owner’s lifetime to provide funds for the care of a deceased owners’ animals until they subsequently die. This is commonly referred to as a “pet trust.” 

Teddy & Franklin

A pet trust authorized by statute in our state may be enforced by a person appointed in the terms of the trust or, if no person is appointed, by a person appointed by the circuit judge in times of conflict. Any person having an interest in the welfare of the animal may want to meet with an estate planning attorney to ensure that the trust is being enforced and that a person who is not performing his or her specified duties can be removed. 

Bear in mind that the property distributed to the pet trust may be applied only for the intended use specified in the terms of the trust. This money is specifically being designated for your pet and should not be given to another person, including the trustee. Determining how you want your money managed and distributed at your death is just one of the reasons why we developed our Unique Self-Guided 19-Point Trust, Estate, & Asset Protection Legal Guide. You may download our tool from our website, or attend a complimentary workshop to lean where problems may exist in your planning as well as opportunities for improvement and how to implement a plan to protect not only your pets but your spouse, home, family, and life savings.



Tags: family, pets, Estate Planning Recommendations, pet trust

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