Pet Trusts

Posted by on Nov 23, 2010 in asset protection, estate planning, Trusts, Wills |

Pet owners consider their beloved animals as friends, companions, and probably, as another member of the family. The law however views them only as property and without the proper planning a pet may be inadvertently destined to suffer and a live the remainder of its life without the care it is accustomed to because its owner did not know or was not well advised to establish a plan. Many times a pet owner will entrust his animal to a close friend or family member, but there are many reasons that the owner’s wishes will not be carried out. Many times the pet’s new caregiver may not be able to keep the pet because of allergies, lack of time, conflict with other pets or an apartment management’s prohibition of pets. A pet owner’s only assurance is to draft legally enforceable documents that will guarantee the pets future.

Many pet owners believe that by stating instructions for the care of their pet they are guaranteeing the pets future. They are wrong. Wills are valid after death, and their purpose is to distribute property not to leave standing instructions on how to take care of property. For example, Jerry gets the cat and the car. A will can’t force Jerry to give the car a tune up every few months. In the same manner, a will can’t force Jerry to take care of the cat in any specific way. Additionally, a will doesn’t allow for the pet’s care in case of the owner’s incapacity. A will cannot deal with the possibility that the pet may need to be taken care of during the owner’s lifetime.

Trusts for the care of an animal or “pet trusts” are recognized in 40 states, and unlike a will, provide many protections and advantages. First, the trust is valid during the pet owner’s life and after his death. Pet trusts are usually terminated at the death of the animal or if there are provisions for more than one animal, at the death of the last surviving animal. Second, pet trusts can control the disbursement of funds to the new caregiver. Detailed instructions can be left with provisions on how to use or spend any funds left for the purpose of taking care of the pet. Finally, a pet trust can provide instructions for your pet’s care in case of your incapacity.

Everyone would like to believe that their pet will be well taken care of in the unfortunate case of incapacity or death. No one wants a court to decide their pet’s future and well-being. The best sense of security for anyone is to know that their family and loved ones are provided for, for a pet owner that includes their pet. Discuss your pet’s future with your attorney so that you may ensure that your pet will get nothing but the best care, even after you can’t provide it anymore.

For more information on successful Florida estate planning and asset protection techniques, please contact the South Florida law firm of Wild Felice & Pardo, P.A. at 954-944-2855 or via email at to schedule your free consultation. Let us protect what you value most.

Read More

An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure

Posted by on Nov 19, 2010 in asset protection, estate planning, Legal News, tax, Trusts, Wills |

A traveler set forth on a journey, with an Ass and a Mule, both carrying a heavy weight. Along the journey the Ass felt his load to be more than he could bear. He asked the mule to relieve him of a small portion of the weight, so he could continue with the rest; but the Mule refused. Shortly afterwards, the Ass fell down, dead under his burden. The Traveler had no other option than to place the Ass’ hide and all the weight carried by it on the Mule. Because the Mule refused to carry a small burden he had to carry a large one.

It is important that you take a little time now to prepare your estate plan than to wait and have your family bear the consequences of an avoidable negative situation.

Read More

Asset Protection Is Often A Necessity For Attorneys

Posted by on Nov 1, 2010 in asset protection, corporate formation, estate planning, Family Law, Legal News, Real Estate, tax, Trusts |

There may be no area of law as controversial as asset protection. However, the crash of the US economy has garnered an increase in interest by many clients in utilizing this area of law for their benefit. Asset protection is complex and often scary but it is a legitimate area of law that incorporates many other areas of law, including bankruptcy, tax, corporate law, contracts, creditor-debtor rights, insurance law and estate planning. Any attorney practicing in the area of asset protection must understand how these areas of law work together and have a comprehensive understanding of Florida’s Fraudulent Transfer Act.

I am certain that most attorneys could share compelling stories about their clients who might have benefited from such preparation. Many of these stories are not of wealthy clients trying to evade paying taxes or legitimate creditors; they are stories of hard-working families who, because of an accident or unforeseen circumstances, lost everything.

Although Florida attorneys cannot offer Florida Asset Protection Trusts to their clients, there are numerous other asset protection techniques which can be utilized to help limit liability exposure for clients. Some techniques include: the use of LLCs or limited partnerships, titling assets as tenancy by the entirety, enhancing retirement benefits, engaging in life insurance planning, the use of certain out of state business entities, purchasing educational plans, and the use of prenuptial or post nuptial agreements.

Whether you offer your clients asset protection planning or not, attorneys all have a duty as advisers to educate ourselves in this growing area of law. Some advocates of asset protection planning suggest that attorneys who practice in certain areas and do not advise their clients in asset protection techniques may be exposing themselves to malpractice claims in the future.

Read More