When the subject of Pet Trusts comes up, most people think of Leona Helmsley leaving a $12 million trust to her dog. It’s logical to consider how our assets should be distributed among our human relatives, but thanks to outlandish stories like Leona’s, estate planning for pets has a questionable reputation. But, it shouldn’t:Pet Trusts are legal arrangements that allow for the guardianship and financial support of pets in the event of their owners’ death. Whether you’re entirely new to estate planning or have a comprehensive set of estate documents and have simply left your pet out of the picture, it’s possible to ensure proper guardianship and financial support for your pet in the event of your death. On the financial side, you can leave money to a trustee with explicit instructions detailing how to use that money on care for your pet. On the care side, pet trusts can instruct a guardian on everything from which foods your pet likes to eat to which doctors it should see.
Our Client Relations Coordinator, “Barrister”. would have you know that well over 100,000 pets per year outlive their owners (some estimate the number to be closer to 500,000). “Barr” (for short) was particularly concerned to hear that dog and cat owners often stipulate who might receive family heirlooms and prized possessions without addressing who should take care of their living pets. To anyone who considers their pets as part of the family, Barr has a pretty good point.
We want to dispel the notion that pet trusts are for millionaires who spend countless amounts of money on their pets’ needs. Caring about what happens to your pet in the event of death or incapacitation is completely reasonable and can be addressed with a Pet Trust as a complement to your comprehensive estate planning. To learn more about Pet Trusts, click here.