By Hook Law Center
Hook Law Center is often asked how can a client provide for a pet if the client becomes disabled or dies? Many states have adopted statutes that permit pet owners to establish trusts for the care of pets during the owner’s incapacity or after the owner’s death. Virginia joined these states on July 1, 2006, when Virginia Code § 55-544.08 became effective. This code section is modeled after a similar section of the Uniform Trust Code.
To plan for a disability, the client can include a provision in the client’s general durable power of attorney authorizing an agent to provide for the pet. The client can include a provision in the client’s will to make a gift of the pet and to provide a monetary gift to provide funds for the pet’s care. In Virginia, the client also has the option of creating a pet trust for the pet that appoints a trustee to manage funds for the pet’s care and appoints a caretaker for the pet. The Virginia pet trust statute provides for enforcement of the pet trust’s provisions.
By Hook Law Center
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the Improved Pension Benefit with Aid and Attendance, commonly referred to as Aid and Attendance which can provide a Veteran (or their surviving spouse) with additional income monthly, up to $23,388 per year. Veterans and their spouses must demonstrate that they have a regular need for the aid and attendance of another individual. The purpose of this non-service-connected benefit is to provide supplemental income to disabled or older veterans or surviving spouses who have low income and/or high unreimbursed medical expenses. Examples of those needing Aid & Attendance are those Veterans or their spouse who have:
- Professional home care providers or family members to provide care in the home,
- Assisted living or adult day care services, or
- Nursing home long-term care services.
The veteran must have served ninety consecutive days on active duty, with one day during a wartime period, and have a discharge other than dishonorable. This Aid & Attendance benefit is not well known or understood and often people are told they do not qualify due to misinformation. Veterans or surviving spouses can qualify for the benefit even if they have relatively large incomes or substantial assets. In order to learn more about Aid & Attendance and other benefits as well as protecting assets from the high cost of long term care, it is important to enlist the assistance of an elder law attorney to properly plan.