Saturday, August 21, 2010

What Happens if Spot Outlives You?

Not everyone loves their pet, and if you fall into this category, read no further. We love Mia, our extremely fluffy Maltese-Shitzu, and so do her Facebook fans. If you "fan" her (dog lovers only, please), you will immediately spot that that she is quite the avid reader, especially of anything regarding dogs.

A recent Jenna's Dogs Blog post - Heiress Gail Posner's Dogs Inherit a Fortune - really made her fur stand up because it questioned the propriety of Conchita's (Ms. Posner's Chiahuahua) one third share of a $3 million inheritance. Naturally, Mia wasn't pleased:  

Pardon me for not living in medieval times, but what exactly is so wrong with a dog inheriting $1 million, other than it doesn't buy as much Iams as it used to? This blogger - and her canine hating readers - gets a lift o' the rear leg from dog lovers everywhere
Mia can be excused for taking it so caninistically. She is aware of a relatively new Florida Statute enabling those of us who cannot guarantee we will outlive our beloved pet to provide for them as long as they live.

Why would you want to include your pet in your estate planning? For many of the same reasons we've set up a "pet Trust" for Mia. We want to:
  • ensure someone we know who loves her will take care of her
  • provide the means for taking care of her
  • avoid the perils and delays of probate
It's purely a matter of personal preference, but (perhaps to Mia's chagrin) we haven't gone as far as Gail Posner or Leona Helmsley in terms of the amount. For most of us, it will be a relatively small portion of our estates. Perhaps not enough to keep her in Dom Perignon, driving a Porsche or weekending in Gstaad, but enough for food, exercise, vet bills and the care of someone who will love her almost as much as we do.

Where does the remainder of the trust go when Spot "moves on?" Anywhere you want! Perhaps your favorite charitable organization, such as your local animal shelter or the Humane Society.

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