Estate Planning for Pets
In 2007, American businesswoman Leona Helmsley died, leaving $12 million to her dog via a trust.
It made for a funny news story, but behind the humor lies an important question: what happens if you predecease your pet? Roughly 65% of Americans own pets, so it’s an important question.
Trusts are the best legal option you have if you would like to have control over how your pet is take care of. To set up a pet trust, you should contact an estate planning attorney.
Trusts for Pets
Pet trusts can get pretty complicated, but there are seven things you definitely have to decide before you begin setting things up.
- which pets the trust covers.
- which caretaker you’re entrusting the pets with.
- the amount of money you’re leaving behind for the pet’s care.
- how that money should be used to take care of the pet.
- the person who goes to court should the trust not be properly carried out.
- what happens to money left over after the pet’s demise.
- what happens if you can’t take care of the pet while you’re still alive.
Control is the biggest advantage of the pet trust, but it also comes with a disadvantage. It can be inflexible if the situation of the pet or new caretaker changes.
Securing Your Pet’s Future
It’s good to be confident about your pet’s future.
Unfortunately, pet trust laws can vary from state to state. In fact, there’s even one state where pet trusts aren’t allowed.