When It's All Going to the Dogs: Planning For Your Pets After You're Gone

November 29, 2007

Some people consider their pets to be members of their family. Other people have made a career out of breeding, raising and/or sheltering animals. When animal owners pass away, if they have not made provisions for the continuing care of their pets, the outcome can be disastrous. Often, the recipient of the pet does not care to, or is not prepared to, take on the responsibility of providing ongoing care. As a result, the pets are then euthanized, neglected or abandoned. If you care about the ongoing welfare of your pet after your demise, your estate plan should specifically address your pet.

Most often, an animal owner will desire to establish a trust for the benefit of their pet. Although approximately half of the United States do recognize trusts that name an animal as the beneficiary, unfortunately, at this time, Massachusetts does not recognize such trusts. While it is not possible to create an enforceable trust solely for the benefit of an animal, it is possible to establish an enforceable trust for the benefit of the animal's caretaker.

One of the most important decisions when planning for your pet is determining who will serve as your pet's caretaker. It is important to name at least one alternate caretaker, ...

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by: Gina M. Barry, Esq.

Prime
November 2007

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