Yesterday I mentioned that pet trusts are now authorized in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Before I get into more detail on how pet trusts work, I think I should tell you about other, perhaps simpler, pet planning options, and what resources are available.
The simplest pet planning option, in my opinion, is to leave your pets to a trusted family member or friend along with a gift in recognition of the sacrifice that the recipient will make to care for the animals. Note the way I worded that: I don’t think of the gift as being direct compensation for the cost of caring for the pets, but as a gift in gratitude for the money and time that your family member or friend will devote to the pets’ care. You can, if you prefer, think of the gift as being compensation for the cost of care, but the estimate will necessarily be inexact and won’t compensate for the time that will be devoted to the pets’ care.
This method depends, of course, on there being a trusted family member or friend who is willing and able to take over the care of your pets. Many people don’t have that option. One alternative is the program some animal welfare organizations have developed that involves a gift to the organization coupled with the organization doing its best to place the pet for adoption.
There’s also the option available through some animal welfare organizations for the pets to be placed in foster homes and offered for adoption through the organization.
One local animal welfare organization that I have heard good things about, and that I know is experienced in handling pets left orphaned, is The Animal League of Green Valley. They are an independent, donation-funded, all-volunteer organization with a shelter and thrift store in Green Valley. They’ve been around for over 30 years.
Next I’ll go into some of the mechanics of pet trusts and how they differ from the other methods I have discussed.
According to a blog post I came across today, with Minnesota’s recent enactment of legislation permitting pet trusts, pet trusts are now recognized by law in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
There are actually two separate Arizona statutes that deal with pet trusts, one of which is part of the probate code and has been in effect since 1995, the other of which is part of the trust code that was enacted in 2009.
A pet trust isn’t the only way to plan for the care of your pets if they outlive you, but it is a useful option. The concept is that pets are personal property, not people (no matter what some pet owners may think), so they can’t receive gifts in your estate plan like people can. Of course there’s also the problem that a pet can’t open a bank account, so even if you could make a gift directly to your pet, there has to be a person to hold the money for the pet. That’s where the idea of a pet trust comes in.
This is a topic that comes up frequently, so I’ll get into it further in future posts.
A lovely Rockwell that I had not seen before is posted at this link. Click on the picture to enlarge it.
There’s a print of a Rockwell cartoon series that hangs in my house because it looks like my younger son could have been the subject, even though it was probably drawn 50 years before he was born. I guess that makes it what you would call timeless.
The Antiplanner recently posted a rundown on the progress of driverless cars, with some optimistic commentary.
The voters of Switzerland agree with me: a government-guaranteed income to everyone (Every citizen? Every legal resident?) is not a good idea. After much discussion about what the outcome of the Swiss referendum would mean, the voters there defeated the proposal by a three to one margin.
For some reason, though, the chatter about this idea of “UBI” hasn’t stopped. But now it’s being touted not as a replacement for current government benefit programs, but as a remedy to the supposedly coming forced idleness that the touters say will result from automation.
Didn’t any of these people see Wall-E? It’s one of my family’s favorite movies.
The contents of this blog, this web site, and any writings by me that are linked here, are all my personal commentary. None of it is intended to be legal advice for your situation.