One of the phenomena that has accompanied the aging of Boomers, Americans born between 1946 (after WWII) and 1964, is the explosion of pet ownership in the US. Boomers were the first generation of Americans for whom pet ownership was common. Before Boomers, farmers and other rural Americans had cats and dogs that lived outside and ate table scraps and rodents. Boomers have made pets part of the family and brought them inside. And now that many Boomers nests are empty, they are filling them with furry family members. According to a recent report in Forbes, last year (2015) Americans spent more than $60 billion on pets. The adoration of our pets has reached unprecedented levels of specialization. Pet owners take their animals to the veterinarian and possibly a groomer, but we can also take Fido to the Spa and Daycare or even on vacation with us, dress up and take Fluffy to a pet psychologist, and buy homeopathic remedies to treat unique maladies. We love our animal friends so much there is seemingly nothing we will not do for them, and that has caused the pet care and pet food markets to explode.
If you are a pet aficionado, have you ever thought about including your dog, cat, horse, or other pet in your estate plan in the event of your death? Who will take care of Fido, Fluffy or Star and how will their expenses be paid for? In Arizona, you may establish a Trust for the care of a designated domestic or pet animal, and designate a Trustee of said Pet Trust to use the trust assets for the benefit of a designated animal(s) until that animal(s)’ death. You may also grant ownership of your beloved animal to another individual(s). If you consider your pet part of the family then perhaps you wish to plan for all members of the family, two and four legged, in your estate plan.