Estate Planning For Your Pets

You may be a fan of Netflix’s Gunther’s Millions, which features the world’s wealthiest dog, a German Shepherd named Gunther. Gunther purportedly inherited his master’s fortune – approximately $350 million US dollars. Unlike in Germany (where Gunther lives), in the United States, pets are considered personal property themselves and cannot inherit assets as if they were a person. However, that does not mean pets in the United States cannot live a life of wealth and comfort upon their owner’s passing.

At TuckerAllen, we love our pets and recognize that pets are an important part of a pet owner’s life. We also believe being a good pet owner involves planning for your pet’s health and wellness, especially when you are not able to manage their care yourself. Many pet owners have friends or relatives who can watch and care for their pets for a few days at a time, or they have a boarding kennel where their pets can stay when they are on vacation. However, most pet owners have not named a caretaker for their pet or set aside money for their pet’s care in the event of their incapacity or death. Fortunately, TuckerAllen gives you the ability to draft an estate plan that is as specific as the care you currently provide your pet.

The ultimate goal of an estate plan with pet provisions is to avoid abandonment or surrender of your pets and to provide specific instructions for your pet’s health and wellness when you can no longer care for them yourself. At TuckerAllen, pet custodian provisions are included in our will and trust packages at no additional charge to you. If you draft a Will with TuckerAllen, you can appoint a pet custodian to take care of your pets after you have passed away. Similarly, you can also include a pet trust in your trust to appoint a pet custodian and designate money for your pet’s care in the event of your death or incapacity.

Providing a plan for your pet helps you take control of your pet’s care, and it allows you to provide direction, care, and support to your loved ones for the care of your pet. While your pet may not be able to inherit your estate like Gunther the millionaire dog, you can still take steps today to give your pet the best life they can live after you have passed away. If you are a new client, we will include pet provisions in your documents at no extra cost. If you are an existing client and would like to hear more, please schedule a time with an attorney to review your documents and see if there are updates to the law, or to your situation, that could necessitate other changes to your existing plan.

To learn more about Gunther and pet trusts, listen to our Life’s Third Act podcast.

Note: We are not affiliated with Netflix or Gunther’s Millions.

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