Can you leave money to a pet in a last will?
Animals are not allowed to own property, so the answer is no, you cannot bequeath property to a pet in a last will.
Is it possible to leave a pet to someone when you create a will?
Absolutely, a pet is considered to be property and a will can be utilized to state your wishes regarding the transfer of your property. However, pet ownership is a very big responsibility, so you should definitely make sure that the person that you have in mind is willing to care for the animal.
If you cannot leave the pet any money, how do you handle the financial part?
You could leave the caretaker a direct bequest with the understanding that the money will be used to take care of the pet.
This being stated, it would be a leap of faith, because the money would belong to the person that inherited it. There would be no legally enforceable compulsion to use the resources for the benefit of the pet.
Is there any other estate planning alternative for pets?
Over the years, more and more states have legalized pet trusts, and they are now allowed in all 50 states.
How does that work?
You convey assets into the trust for the benefit of the pet, and you name a trustee to act as the administrator after you pass away. The trustee does not necessarily have to be someone that you know personally, and the administrator doesn’t have to be the individual that will care for the pet.
This can be the ideal pet planning solution. If you do not know anyone that would be a suitable caretaker, you could instruct the trustee to identify someone that would be willing to provide the pet with a good home.
You can also provide specific instructions with regard to the way you want the pet to be cared for after your passing. The trustee would be legally compelled to make sure that your wishes are carried out, and this is another major benefit of a pet trust.
When does a pet trust terminate?
The trust would no longer exist after the death of the pet.
What happens to assets that may remain in the trust after the pet is gone?
This is another very efficient aspect of a pet trust. When you set the terms, you name a successor beneficiary to assume ownership of any remainder that may be left in the trust after the death of the animal.
Access Our Special Report on Pet Planning
Our attorneys have prepared a number of different in-depth reports that cover many different important and interesting estate planning and elder law topics. One of them is devoted to the subject of pet planning, and you can access it right now free of charge.
Plus, you are welcome to read any or all of the reports that are contained within our electronic library. To browse the titles, visit the following page: Free Estate Planning Reports.
We Are Here to Help!
We have provided a bit of basic information about pet trusts here, and our doors are open if you would like to take the next step. Our attorneys would be more than glad to answer any questions that you have about pet planning or any other aspect of your legacy.
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