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Can I Leave My Estate To My Pet

Can I Leave My Estate To My Pet

We've all heard about the wealthy old lady who was so fond of her animal companion that when she died she willed him her entire huge fortune. These stories are partly true. The good news is that you really can provide legally for your pet's care after you have passed on.

You can't actually bequeath your money or property to your animal friend directly. But you can put money in a trust fund to provide for food and supplies, veterinary checkups and emergencies, insurance, licensing and anything else your pet may need.

How To Provide Legally For Your Pet

Pet trust funds are not difficult to set up. Most states now have specific probate laws covering pet trusts. By employing an attorney who is familiar with the system of wills, trusts and probate in your state, you can learn exactly how to set up a trust for your animal companion.

Your attorney will go over the laws of probate in your state with you and help you figure out how much money you will need to put in the trust. You'll need to take into account things like your pet's expected lifetime, how inflation will affect expenses and so on. Your attorney will file all necessary papers with the court and explain things to you before you sign them.

Your attorney will also help you choose a caretaker who will cherish your friend as you do. You will also name a trustee to handle the actual distribution of funds to the caretaker. Wealthy people sometimes provide a stipend for the caretaker too, so that your friend can be her full-time job.

What Can I Put In A Trust

A trust isn't just about money. You can specify a vet or animal hospital, a schedule for feeding and walks, and even the kinds of food, toys and bed you want your friend to have.

With these things in place, you can be assured of the continued health and happiness of your animal companion when you're gone.