Florida Elder Law & Estate Planning Blog

Pet trusts provide peace of mind

The late Gail Posner bequeathed $11 million to her beloved chihuahua, Conchita. Her son got a relatively paltry $1 million. As you can guess, he is now suing his mother’s estate, claiming that she was pressured by her staff to change her will to provide handsomely for Conchita’s caretakers – namely, them.

You may not have $11 million to lavish on your pet, but chances are you love your Fifi or Fido just as much as Posner loved Conchita, and want to be sure he’ll be well cared for if he outlives you.

The good news is that 44 of 50 states now have legal mechanisms that allow you to protect your pet in your estate plan.  And Florida is one of those states. While you can rely on informal arrangements – a grandchild or a neighbor who agrees to take your pet, say – you may prefer the peace of mind that comes with more formal arrangements. A Pet Trust can provide you with that peace of mind. When you establish a Pet Trust, you fund it with monies for the care of your pet and appoint a trustee to care for him. You also appoint beneficiaries who will receive whatever monies remain in the trust when the pet passes away. The trust can be created while you are alive, or at your death  through provisions in your Florida will or your Revocable Trust. Be sure to discuss these concerns with your Certified Elder Law Attorney!