At the time we all laughed when we found out that Leona Helmsley left 12 million dollars to her dog. But the truth of the matter is, that’s not exactly what happened. Leona like many pet owners across the country creating something called a Pet Trust.
In the event of your death or in the unlikely scenario that you are incapacitated, someone needs to take care of your pet. And it should not be a financial burden on whoever takes over that responsibility. Therefore, you and your estate planner create something that is called a pet trust.
A pet trust puts a designated amount of money into a trust that is to be used to by the trustee for the sole purpose of taking care of your pet. The trustee is not allowed to use the funds for personal means but rather to make sure that your pet has the quality of life and care it needs. Also, if you do not trust the person who is taking care of the pet to use the money solely on the pet, you can have someone else be the trustee (person in charge of the money) and another person as the caretaker (person in charge of your pet). The caretaker will have to prove to the trustee that the money is being used for the care of the pet.
While most pets do not need 12 million dollars, making sure a member of your family such as your pet is financial set after your passing or in the event you are incapacitated is one aspect of estate planning that should not be ignored.