February 1, 2011
With the arrival of Valentine’s Day in February, many of us reflect on the relationships that are most important to us. While the focus is typically on romantic love, many of us also have an equal love for our pets. The Massachusetts legislature has finally recognized the strong bond that exists between man and animal by passing legislation that allows a pet owner to establish a trust fund to provide ongoing care for any animals alive during their lifetime.
On January 7, 2011, Governor Deval Patrick signed into law "An Act Relative to Trusts for the Care of Animals," which will take effect on April 7, 2011. The Act states simply that "[a] trust for the care of one or more animals . . . is valid." Prior to this legislation being enacted, an animal owner had to leave funds with a human caretaker, who would then agree to provide care to any animals.
The statute provides that the trust will not terminate until the benefited animal, or the last of several animals, has passed away. This assumes that the trust contains enough funds to continue to exist for that length of time. Thus, it is not enough to merely create a trust. You must also ensure that enough assets will be placed into the trust to provide the desired care. Some people overcome the lack of present funds by purchasing a life insurance policy that will pay into the trust when they pass away. Conversely, if the trust receives an excessive amount of assets, ...
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by: Gina M. Barry