This week, Devin and John talk about a fascinating subject: estate planning for pets. When you’re talking about estate planning, and the care of pets, some interesting things can happen. It’s not uncommon for people to want to provide for their pets in their wills, whether designating the person who will care for the pet, or providing money to care for the pet.
There used to be a lot of pitfalls when creating plans for pets. Technically, an animal is property, and the animal has the same legal rights as any other property (like a couch.) This is really hard for animal people to comprehend.
People have all kinds of creative things that they want to do in their wills to care for their pets. Some of them they can do, and some of them can not be done. Generally speaking, you can’t leave property to property. You can’t have a trust for the benefit of property – you can’t create a trust for the benefit of your couch.
Fortunately, there have been changes to laws to reflect the desire to care for pets. As of 2018, every state in the United States has laws that permit a pet to be the beneficiary of a trust. You can leave money, and designate a trustee, and that trustee has a fiduciary responsibility to the designated pet(s).
If you have a pet, and you want to leave money for the care of your pet after you pass, a pet trust might be the right tool for you.
Listen to the episode for more: