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To My Dog, Lucky, I leave $10,000

Posted on Fri Dec 20, 2019, on Estate Planning

Your Pet is Your Friend, What Happens to Your Pet When You Die?

How Does a Pet Trust Work?

How Does a Pet Trust Work?

How Does a Pet Trust Work?

Since the dawn of time, pets have held an essential place in our hearts and our homes. Ancient Egyptians used to mummify faithful pets and have them buried with themselves. This was a dubious honor for the pet. Even in modern America, people have attempted to take their pets with them. For example, Mary Murphy died in 1979, leaving $200,000 to Pets Unlimited, a shelter for pets. However, the more controversial provision in her Will was her command that her pet collie, Sido, be euthanized. The probate court found that Mary did not have the authority to have her pet euthanized. She could have used a Pet Trust to provide care. 

But, the trend has been toward providing for your pets, rather than trying to take them with you. In 1993, Doris Duke, heiress to a tobacco fortune, left $100,000 to her dog, Rodeo. Actress Betty White’s Will reportedly leaves her entire estate to her pets. States are increasingly recognizing the validity of pet trusts.  

How Does a Pet Trust Work?

You name a trustee to hold funds for the benefit of your pet.  For example, in times past and even on occasion today, the funds to care for the pet were left in trust for the pet’s caretaker. Many states now provide for a trust naming the pet as beneficiary. The most common amount left in a pet trust is $25,000. Of course, a pet with a long life expectancy may need more — for example, a parrot or a turtle.  Further, you should carefully plan for a pet requiring expensive medical care, such as an older dog or cat.  Lastly, you may desire your pet to receive extravagant care.

You can specify the caretaker of the pet and backup caretakers. You can set forth your exact wishes for the pet, including diet, daily routine, toys, grooming, socialization, medical care, and disposition of the pet’s remains. The trustee and caretaker may be the same person, or you may choose different people for each role. By selecting different people, it provides a check and balance.  

Pet trusts can be a great way to ensure your pet’s care.  Make sure they receive your love even after you are gone. A qualified estate planning lawyer in Palatine, IL can help you plan for your pets so that they continue to get the love and care they deserve—even when you are not around to provide for them yourself.

Learn More.

We hope you enjoyed this article about How Does a Pet Trust work.  To craft a plan for your pet, talk to your estate planning lawyer.  

Thanks to Bott & Associates, Ltd. for their insight into estate planning and leaving money to a pet.

Tags:

Irrevocable Trust, pet

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