Friday, July 8, 2011

Pet Trusts: Who Will Care for Fido and Fluffy after You Are Gone?

All but five states have some sort of pet trust laws (see linkable map), that allow for legal planning of the care and feeding of your pet after your death. Recently, Massachusetts enacted The Massachusetts Pet Trust Bill, which provides pet owners the ability to create a pet trust and set aside funds for their animals, including instructions for care, exercise and diet. The law also provides for designating a caregiver as a trustee to ensure directives are carried out. Massachusetts estate planning attorney Michelle Mulvena writes in her law firm's blog,
"In the past, pet owners had little say over how their animals were to be cared for upon their death. Many had chosen to designate money and appoint an individual in their wills for pet care, but there was no real legal obligation to carry out their wishes – until now."
She also writes:
"Not only will a pet trust give you peace of mind and ensure that your pet’s daily routine and lifestyle will not be disrupted, but it will drastically reduce the number of animals forced to enter shelters..."

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