Three years ago, our family adopted a beautiful tabby cat, Nibbles. Our kids instantly fell in love. Every day we hear stories about Nibbles helping with homework (sitting on the keyboard waiting to be pet), coming up with cool sound effects (coughing up hairballs), or protecting and defending our family from danger (randomly attacking inanimate objects). Nibbles is truly a member of our family.
Recently, it was reported that Tennessee businessman, Bill Dorris, left $5 million to his 8-year-old border collie, Lulu, in an estate planning vehicle called a Pet Trust. The terms of the Pet Trust specify who shall provide for Lulu’s care and the manner it shall be given. When asked what she thought about this gift, Martha Burton (Mr. Dorris’s friend and Lulu’s caretaker) said: “I don’t really know what to think about it, to tell you the truth…He just really loved the dog.”
We love our pets! They are very much our family. But did you know you can leave an inheritance to your pet? According to the ASPCA, all 50 states have a law governing pet trusts. Such trusts allow for money to be set aside for the care of a pet, with detailed instructions on how the funds and care should be provided. In Arizona, a trust for the care of a pet is valid and remains valid until your pet is no longer living or the funds are depleted. That means our family can set aside funds and instructions for Nibbles’ continued care should something happen to us.
Since the law governing Pet Trusts change and vary by state, it is important to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney to ensure your Pet Trust is properly drafted. If you have a pet and would like the peace of mind knowing your pet will receive the continued care you desire after your passing, give Bivens & Associates a call today 480-922-1010 to schedule a consultation.
- Darren L. Richardson, Esq.