Pet Trusts

Pet TrustsPet Trusts

Today’s news mentioned that a deceased left $100,000 to care for her 12 parrots.

At first blush this may seem unreasonable, but given that her wealth was in excess of 5 1/2 million dollars, and the long life expectancy of parrots, this may not have been an unreasonable amount to leave in  trust for one’s  surviving pets.

In fact it is advisable that if one intends to care for a surviving pet, that an appropriate sum of funds be  set aside in one’s will to provide for this occurrence. Such trust fund amount could be reasonably calculated given the life expectancy of the animal, the cost of food care and veterinary services.

On the other hand, approximately 20 years ago, I was consulted with respect to a deceased single physician with no children who suddenly died young, and left her 1 million Dollar estate to her two cats and four dogs for their lifetime care.

In legal terminology, this is called an “imperfect trust”.

The million dollars was obviously an inordinate and inappropriate sum of money to provide for the animals, and the residual beneficiaries of the million dollar estate sought my advice.

The long and short of it, was that the dogs life expectancy being Great Danes was only seven years, but the cats life expectancy was in the range of 20 years.

We resolved the matter by providing for an appropriate amount of funds for care for the animals, and distributed the residue of the estate to the residual beneficiaries. The pets were in no legal position to object or consent.

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