Our nation is obsessed with the loyalty and love our non-human family members bring, and that’s certainly true when it comes to our dogs. Many families that have dogs are quick to let anyone know their four legged family members are by far the most loyal.
Remember the shock that you felt when we learned real estate mogul Leona Helmsley left a massive $12 million fortune to Trouble, her Maltese? If you thought that was jaw dropping, you’ll definitely rethink it once you learn what celebrities are doing these days. For instance, Oprah Winfrey is reportedly leaving her entire $30 million fortune to her four dogs, specifically, her two Cocker Spaniels and two Golden Retrievers. Not only has she incorporated a pet trust, but the detailed instructions cover pages of text. She’s provided solutions for every scenario. Should she become incapacitated or is otherwise unable to care for them, she has gone to great detail to provide for their care.
Americans own 78 million dogs and close to 85 million cats. This highlights the growing importance of these types of trusts, designed to ensure our own loved ones are cared for, even if we don’t leave them all of our assets.
Like estate planning, many are under the wrong assumption that a pet trust is limited only to those with impressive bank balances. That’s simply not true. You can prepare a pet trust, no matter your annual income. These specialized legal documents will address a number of concerns all pet owners share. Among the many benefits, these trusts allow you to name someone to handle the trust fund – both legally and financially. You can be as specific as you’d like when it comes to naming someone to care for your pet(s). You can designate a different person for each pet. You can even arrange for your vet to meet the people you’ve chosen to oversee your pet’s care should you be no longer able to do so. Plus, you can define, in as great detail as you wish, how your pet should be cared for.
One example includes a man with a 500 pound hog. He bought her when she was much smaller, of course, thinking of the fun the grandchildren would have when they visited. Earline, as she’s called, has become part of the family. She has a great life – she has a huge field with plenty of mud and three feedings a day. The only problem is, aside from himself and the grandchildren, no one else in the family seems to see things his way. Oh, of course, everyone loves Earline, but the client knows caring for her might not mean the same thing to other family members as it does to him. He’s asked a neighbor to take over if the time ever comes when he can no longer meet Earline’s needs. His goal, he explains, is to have the neighbor care for him until one of the grandchildren is old enough to do so. It’s a win-win since Earline’s field pen is between the two properties and the neighbor enjoys seeing the grandkids as well. Of course, that may never become an issue, but for one farmer who’s ten years past retirement, it provides peace of mind.
If you’d like to learn more about what defines an all-inclusive pet trust, contact our offices today. We can show just how fast, easy and affordable these documents truly are.