Providing for pets has a long history in the courts. In 1889, an English court upheld a testamentary gift for the maintenance of horses and dogs. And, McQueen isn’t the first celebrity who has seen fit to provide for a pet beyond the grave. In 2007, Leona Helmsley’s dog, Trouble, made headlines when it was discovered that Helmsley left Trouble $12 million. A judge later reduced this amount to $2 million – still sizeably more than McQueen’s relatively deprived threesome!
Pets are very real members of the family that need to be addressed in the estate planning mix. The Humane Society of the U.S., estimates that about 400,000 pets a year need to find new homes because their owners die.
Creating a pet trust is one way to ensure your furry or feathered companions are well taken care of, even after you’re gone. Don’t simply leave behind written instructions on how you’d like your pet to be treated, as these are not enforceable.