You have to make sure that you remember all of your loved ones when you are planning your estate, and they don’t all necessarily have to walk on two legs.
Planning ahead for the well-being of your pet is something to take into consideration. Even though dogs and cats have shorter lifespans than humans anything can happen, so you may well want to include your pet in your estate plan. This is especially true if you bring a pet into your home as a senior citizen.
One way that you can provide for your pet is to convey financial resources into a pet trust for the benefit of the animal. There are some interesting stories about celebrities extravagantly funding trusts for their pets. These would include Oprah Winfrey, Betty White, Drew Barrymore, and the so-called “Queen of Mean” Leona Helmsley.
She may have been mean in the eyes of some people, perhaps even those of the two grandchildren that she disinherited. However, her estate plan made her Maltese Trouble a canine millionaire.
Even if you don’t have the ability or desire to make your pet a furry tycoon you can still provide for the animal sufficiently by creating a pet trust. You draw up a trust agreement that can contain instructions with regard to how you want the pet to be cared for, and you can be specific.
The trustee that you name in the agreement will administer the funds that you conveyed into the trust for the benefit of the pet throughout its life.
When the pet dies a secondary trustee that you name in the agreement inherits any remainder that may be left in the trust.