“My ninety-year-old great aunt is one of your lifetime protection program clients, but her nursing home won’t let me talk to her!” And with that call, Dennis Sullivan of Dennis Sullivan and Associates was on the case. Within an hour, he’d leveraged his Power of Attorney, established that the nursing home was not properly treating his client’s illness, and called in an eldercare advocate for a third-party assessment.
That’s not a service anyone expects when they place their first phone call to ask about trust and estate planning, but it saved this woman’s life.
For more than twenty-six years, Dennis Sullivan and Associates has specialized in estate planning and elder law, but their services go well beyond. Sullivan says, “Helping people protect their spouse, home, legacy, family, and life savings is our team’s mission.”
Dennis Sullivan is an attorney, a CPA with a Master’s in tax law and holds a Management degree from MIT. He’s written or contributed to seven books, and in addition, he’s a cancer survivor. This combination gives him a unique perspective on the importance of our health and the legacies we leave behind, well beyond our financial legacy.
Attorney Greta Atchinson a partner at the firm, and Dennis Sullivan’s protégé, explains, “Estate planning is more than just writing a will or trust. The best estate planning begins with providing for our elder years.” This means understanding age’s impact on housing, health, mobility, and finances. She adds, “We want to empower our clients. Elder law attorneys, Medicaid planners, and senior advisors work with you when you’re facing an asset protection crisis, like entering a nursing home. We prefer to help people through proper advanced planning so that protection and savings grow naturally over time.”
Ruthann O’Sullivan, Office Manager and paralegal, says, “People assume trusts are just for extremely wealthy individuals. In reality, they’re for families that want peace of mind by being prepared.” By addressing future issues before there is a crisis, you proactively protect those you love. “You don’t want to worry about nursing home costs for the first time when faced with health challenges. A solid plan allows you to focus on what matters.”
A call to Dennis Sullivan and Associates jumpstarts a three-step process. First is a free Discovery Workshop (currently provided virtually) that covers proper estate and asset protection. The client identifies their goals so they can evaluate where they are in relation to where they would like to be.
The second step is a personalized meeting with an attorney to review existing documents or write an entirely new plan.
“Eighty-six percent of trusts fail,” says Attorney Sullivan. “We know not all trusts are created equal, and our team has developed a unique ‘Nineteen Point Checkup’ to review trusts and estate plans with a fine-toothed comb.”
In the third step, the documents are signed, and then the client becomes a member of the Lifetime and Legacy Protection Program. Sullivan established this program to ensure clients and their families remain protected even as laws change and family circumstances evolve. When the new Secure Act was passed, for example, the firm let all members know it would accelerate taxes on IRAs, Retirements and Estate Plans, then hosted a workshop on the impact this would have. The firm also provides personal annual reviews as part of their membership.
Attorney Atchinson says “We put our clients in the driver’s seat. We educate and assist families in identifying their most critical tax, estate, and asset protection objectives as well as their core values.” When people speak for themselves through meticulous estate planning, they can eliminate family conflict and pass on their values to their family.
Beyond the peace of mind that comes with protecting family assets, many clients have found comfort during the corona virus pandemic by securing their healthcare directives. Atchinson says, “Now more than ever, it’s vital to establish all the necessary documents surrounding your healthcare.”
Dennis Sullivan and Associates can help you draw up your healthcare proxy, power of attorney, and advanced directives, something everyone over age eighteen should have in place. Clients receive a wallet-sized emergency access card (see photo) with information about who to contact in the event of an emergency. “I can’t tell you how hard it is when parents cannot get information about their adult children in emergencies,” says Sullivan. “It’s vital not to wait.”
As with Dennis Sullivan’s ninety-year-old client, rock-solid pre-planning can save the day. His team knows they have achieved success when families feel their loved ones are well-protected.
To access the next Discovery Workshop or to establish your healthcare directives, contact Dennis Sullivan and Associates at (781) 237-2815 or visit DSullivan.com.