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Phillips Esq.
Phillips Esq., Attorney-at-Law
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 19323
Experience:  B.A.; M.B.A.; J.D.
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My wife and I were asked to take the responsibility to take

Customer Question

My wife and I were asked to take the responsibility to take care for over 50 animals. We were already caring for them but after being diagnosed with terminal cancer decided to talk to us about it to know that her pets would be cared for in the way that she would want. for the record, we did not want this responsibility at all, but we had agreed to always care for her pets years ago and were being held to that promise. Upon accepting the responsibility the owner explained the pet trust and allowed me to sit with her attorney to witness conversation of the financial commitment for us to continue caring for her animals after she had passed away.
Unfortunately, the bank did not accept the responsibility to be the Trustee and someone else was allowed to. Also, we found out that we are not the beneficiaries of the pet trust - only the pets are. We have been working now everyday for over 3 years now and have not received any pay for care and maintenance. We have relocated the animals and built a fence and a large shelter. All of which I was told with her attorney present would be reimbursed. We accepted responsibility of her pets trusting in this verbal agreement or commitment as witnessed by her attorney. It was a difficult decision to make, because it meant a lot of work and our money spent to believe in the arrangement to be reimbursed.
We have had 3 perfect walk through inspections and have no complaints or requests for improvements. the only requests for improvements came from us.
The trustee has not allowed these improvements 3 times. The last request the trustee requested a quote or estimate then responded that there is money in the "surplus of funds" that we have been given. That doesn't even make any sense considering the amount of debt we have from this and the refusal to reimburse us. The court ordered the trustee in Sept 2014 to start sending us "x" amount of money and work out the details concerning wages and reimbursement. we turned in all of our receipts thinking that it would happen soon. It never did. I have written letters requesting to negotiate wages and to discuss reimbursement of over $50,000 now. we are paying over $350 in interest fees every month on this as well. we are not even asking for that. The trustee only desires to pay for monthly expenses. we cannot see the trust / will because we are not the beneficiaries - the pets are in this pet trust. If this keeps up we will soon be completely out of money living off of our retirement to survive but when that is gone we will have to file bankruptcy. We currently have no income. My last check was the first week in January 2016. we have all these animals and the guilt of promising to care for them as our friends dying wish. We made a commitment that we would care for her pets so this is what we do. The trustee has altered the trust and has been difficult ever since I officially asked for reimbursement in April 2015. We are in a bad situation being that we cannot afford an attorney or an accountant. things are even worse because the trustee has labeled all our finances received as "income" with her accountant - even thought it is only for expenses. the trustee has not shown any interest in paying for the "care and maintenance" of these animals like we were told the pet trust would. I have emailed the attorney that wrote the pet trust and he says that he does not represent me and cannot do anything about it. even though he told me 3 years ago that he would be there to make sure everything went smoothly. I want to go to the newspapers and television to tell our story, I don't know what else to do. We work everyday here and now have only one car and I am still looking for work - anyone who will hire me. but many are looking for work in my area. with no income and a pet trust trustee that does not appear to truly care for these animals or truly honor the wishes and instructions of the pet trust and has no desire to pay for pet care services, what are my options. can I go public with this?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Estate Law
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
we cannot afford an attorney. we are just trying to survive right now.
Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 1 year ago.
I am so sorry to read about this. First, you need to go back to Court and ask the Court (file a Motion) to order the Trustee to reimburse you for your expenses without further delay and to also pay promptly for care and maintenance of these animals. You may also ask that the Court remove the current Trustee and appoint you as the successor Trustee. You can obtain blank Motion forms at the Courthouse in the Clerk's office. Then, yes, "go public" to shine light on this. Contact your local TV and radio Stations. It appears that the trust is being poorly managed--not being used for the reason that it was set up; that you and your wife are being taken advantage o. You are taking care of the animals and not being paid for your expenses. That's a real shame and must stop. Eventhough the pets are the beneficiaries of the trust, your friend should have trusted you and your wife, and made you the Trustees of the Trust so that you can manage it for the benefit of the pets that you are taking care of. Kindly give a positive rating to my post so that I can receive credit for answering your question—so that part of the deposit that you already paid to the site can be transferred to me. You are not charged extra for doing this. Thank you for your cooperation.