Pet Wills: Should We Provide for Furry Friends?
Pet owners in Massachusetts are rallying behind a proposed law that would allow them to designate a caretaker for their pets in their wills, Reuters reports. Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick has a Jan. 9 deadline to sign the bill into law.
The proposed legislation would allow Massachusetts residents to include pets in their wills, leave trust funds for those pets, and allow pet trust law to be enforced in court, according to the Boston Herald.
"It's become clear this is something that's important to people," Kara Holmquist, director of advocacy for the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, told Reuters. In fact, there are approximately 40 states in the U.S. that allows pet owners to create a legal trust for their pets, according to FindLaw.
Pet trust law allows owners to set money aside to provide for their pets' care during the pets' lifetime after the owners pass away. In the case of the pending Massachusetts legislation, not only is the establishment of a pet trust permitted, individuals entrusted to care for the pet must use the funds to care for the pet and not use it for any other purposes. The pet trusts remain valid until a date selected by the deceased owner or until the pet dies. The proposed law provides the possibility of legal recourse in order to enforce the deceased owner's wishes.
Currently, Massachusetts is one of 7 states that precludes residents from leaving money behind specifically to take care of a beloved pet. As of now, owners can name a pet caretaker and leave money to that named person, but there is no legal requirement for that person to care for the animal or spend the money on the pet's care.
Here is hoping that Massachusetts residents can provide for Spot or Fluffy soon.
- Including A Pet Trust In Your Estate Planning (New York Estate Planning News Blog)
- Pet Trusts: Providing For Fido and Fluffy (FindLaw)
- Leona Helmsley's Estate Goes ... Not to the Dogs: Estate Planning and Taxes, What to Consider (FindLaw's Law & Daily Life Blog)
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