You may have heard about celebrities like Leona Helmsley or Oprah Winfrey that created estate plans that left millions of dollars for their dogs. It can seem like something that is in the realm of the rich and famous, but ordinary people can be interested in pet planning solutions.
Imagine the situation that you may be in when you start to reach an advanced age. Your spouse may pass away before you do, and after retirement, you will not have daily interactions with your coworkers.
People live busy lives, so your closer family members may not come around very often, and they may live in another state. Some of your friends and contemporaries in your extended family may no longer be around, so life can get pretty lonely.
If you were to bring a dog into your home, everything would change dramatically. There would be a companion in your life that is relying on you for everything, and this can be extraordinarily enriching on an emotional level.
You can walk the dog regularly if you are still in a condition to do so, and this will be good for your physical health and your mental well-being. While you are out and about, you may meet other pet owners and dog lovers, and you can look forward to chatting with your acquaintances.
Experts have found that pet ownership is definitely beneficial for the health of senior citizens, and you are giving an animal a comfortable, loving home when you take this step.
A lot of older people that are tempted to get a dog are rightfully concerned about longevity and the plight of the pet. Some people wonder if they can name a caretaker in a will and leave them an inheritance, and the answer is yes.
However, this is something that would be based on the honor system. You would be leaving an inheritance to the person that you name, and the money would be theirs. They can do whatever they want to do with it from a legal perspective.
Another thing about this arrangement that is less than ideal is the fact that it is hard to know exactly how much to leave to the would-be caretaker. And if they are up there in years in their own right, what happens if they predecease the dog?
Fortunately, you can in fact establish a trust that will benefit a dog. This was not possible at one time, but over the years, pet trusts have been recognized in more and more state. Now, you can create a pet trust in every state in the union.
To execute this estate planning strategy, you fund the trust, and your pet would be the first beneficiary. You name a successor beneficiary that would inherit the assets that remain in the trust after the death of the dog, so you do not have to worry about excess funding.
In the trust declaration, you designate a trustee to act as the administrator. They will be legally compelled to follow your instructions with regard to the way you want the pet to be cared for after your death. However, they would not necessarily have to act as a caretaker.
The trustee would simply be compelled to find a suitable caretaker for the dog. When you are leaving those instructions, you can be very specific about every aspect of the dog’s treatment.
A pet trust can make responsible pet ownership possible for lonely seniors, and we can help you actualize a plan if you decide to get yourself a pet late in your life.
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