As elder law attorneys, we assist clients that are looking ahead toward the challenges they may face when they reach the latter stages of life. Admittedly, some of the potential scenarios are not very pleasant, but getting older is simply part of the human condition. The best thing you can do is prepare for the future in advance armed with as much useful information as you can absorb.
It is not uncommon for seniors to experience loneliness at some point in time. If you have been retired for quite a while, and your spouse has passed away, there is no day-to-day contact with others built into your life.
Granted, many people have family members and friends that they interact with on an ongoing basis, but it can be limited. Of course, there are those that really do not have much of a support system at all.
There is no magic cure for loneliness that can be prescribed by a medical professional. However, there is a solution that can be absolutely perfect for many seniors that would benefit from some regular companionship.
They say that the dog is man’s best friend for some very good reasons. When you bring a pet into your home as a senior citizen, you get the companionship you crave, and you can enjoy it 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
We are not just talking about a stoic companion that is there without any animation. Just looking at your dog can melt your heart, and the way that they look back makes you feel like the most important person in the world. Indeed, to your canine best friend, you are just that.
It’s kind of difficult to be depressed when you are in that situation, and you feel a renewed sense of purpose when you have a pet that is relying on you for everything. In a real sense, it is like having a dependent back in your home for the first time in decades.
When you have no particular reason to go out in the yard to move around or take a walk over to the park, you may adopt a sedentary lifestyle, even if you are capable of some activity. This propensity toward inertia can be exacerbated when you are often down in the dumps.
All of this changes when you are a dog owner. The pet will certainly need its share of exercise, so you can go out in the yard together, throw the ball, a toy, or the frisbee, and get a bit of exercise.
Better yet, when you take walks, the positive health benefits are greater, and you will invariably run into other dog owners and animal lovers that you can chat with on a regular basis. The exercise is good for your physical health, and it is also very positive for you mentally.
Admittedly, a big dog like a German Shepherd or a Doberman is not going to be the right choice for most seniors. This being stated, even a small dog can act as somewhat of a protector, because barking will certainly intimidate potential intruders and act as sort of an organic alarm system.
You may be nodding your head around now thinking yes, this is all true, but I’m afraid that I will die before my pet does. This is perfectly understandable, but there is an estate planning device that can allow you to bring a dog into your home and go forward with absolute peace of mind.
Many people are not aware of the fact that you can establish a trust for the benefit of a dog or another type of pet. It works like many other trusts.You fund the trust and name a trustee to act as the administrator after you are gone.
It should be noted that the trustee does not have to be the person that will act as the caretaker for the pet, but this is certainly possible. In the trust document, you leave instructions regarding the exact way that you want the pet be cared for after you are gone, and you can be quite specific.
The trustee would be legally obligated to follow your instructions to the letter if and when the time comes. If there is anything left in the trust after the death of the pet, it would be transferred to a successor beneficiary that you name in the trust declaration.
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