Estate Planning Update – 05.06.21
Pandemic Pets and Pet Companionship:
Seven Benefits/Considerations for Care Coordination and Estate Planning
By: Rebecca Miller
When my kids started to feel isolated and bored spending so much time at home due to the pandemic, we volunteered to be foster parents for a sweet four-week old kitty, Marigold. She was a fuzzball so tiny that I could hold her in one hand, and she was a little sick and not eating very well. She needed lots of love and attention! It wasn’t long before she was feeling well and had the whole family wrapped around her tiny paw. We learned that foster programs are more like pet adoption schemes, and Marigold became a permanent member of the Miller family. She was our first “pandemic pet.” Next came Patrick, the Vizsla puppy who recently joined our clan.
It turns out my family wasn’t the only one acquiring new furry members. One of the many unanticipated effects of the pandemic was a surge in interest in fostering and adopting pets. Stay-at-home orders decreased opportunities for social interaction, and people started looking for new companions. The forced time at home created a perfect environment for adding a pet — people could invest more time and money on pets. According to data from PetPoint, animal welfare organizations across the country saw a spike in adoptions starting in March 2020, and many shelters had a hard time keeping up with demand. Cats and dogs were being adopted at unforeseen rates, resulting in a shortage of so-called “pandemic puppies.” The pet care industry also benefited from the surge in demand for pet care products and veterinary services.
This trend made me think about whether pets should play a more significant part in the care coordination and estate planning advice we give our clients, particularly seniors and people with disabilities or special needs.
Owning, or even having regular opportunities to interact with a pet, has lots of benefits.
Click Read More to read about seven benefits for pet owners — including key considerations for aging individuals and people with special needs.
Estate Planning Resources
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Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has introduced legislation that would require more estates to pay estate tax, and that raises the amounts they would pay. Another proposed law would eliminate the step-up in basis that inherited assets currently enjoy.
Medicaid Recipients Have a Little More Time to Spend Down Their Stimulus Money
The one-year deadline for nursing home residents on Medicaid to spend down their first round of stimulus checks is here, but they may have a little extra time.
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Since the COVID-19 vaccines haven’t been around that long, it’s not yet known how long their protection lasts. How well the vaccines work against emerging variants will also determine if, when, and how often additional shots might be needed. Read the Associated Press article posted by U.S. News for a look at various considerations.
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reported that 30% of the entire U.S. population is fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. And, more than 43% has received at least one dose of the vaccine. For a look at the vaccination progress and recent updated guidance from the CDC, read the U.S. News article.
Say Yes! COVID Test At-Home Testing Challenge
Hamilton County Health Department, in partnership with the CDC and NIH, is facilitating access for Hamilton County households to receive free, rapid, at-home COVID-19 test kits. You can test three times a week to help protect your family and our community.