Are you one of the millions of Americans who have welcomed a pet into your home? If so, you likely lather your four-legged companion with love and affection, and dutifully visit the veterinarian. But have you considered where Fido or Kitty would go to live if you were unable to take care of him or her? Leona Helmsley’s will, leaving $12 million to a pet trust for her dog, has focused the spotlight on the issue of including pets in your estate plan.
Each year, thousands of pets end up in shelters because their owners died without making arrangements for their care. USA Today has a nice, simple article discussing the ins and outs of including your pet in your estate plan. Sure, a $12 million trust might not be the right fit for you, but leaving a letter with a plan for caring for your pet might. And don’t think a pet trust is just for the rich and famous; they can be funded will a small amount of money and may be appropriate if the person you would like to leave your pet with needs some financial assistance (i.e. grooming costs) or if your pet has a long lifespan (a Macaw parrot can live between 50 and 100 years).