Providing for your dog in your will

News has broken this week that Trouble, the Maltese previously owned by Leona Helmsley (‘The Queen of Mean’), died in December.  Helmsley left a US$12 million trust fund when she died in 2007 for the care of Trouble.  This amount was later reduced to US$2 million when relatives challenged the will.

If you are thinking about providing for your dog in your will – there is a right way and wrong way to do it.

Right way:  Check into the regulations in your area about establishing trust funds for the benefit of your pet’s care and open the trust fund now, making regular contributions.   Make sure you nominate someone to care for your dog after you have died, using the funds in the trust.

If pet trusts are not allowed in your area, you need to nominate a carer for your dog and then leave them money to support your dog’s care.

Wrong way:  Don’t leave money to your dog in your will.  Whether we like it or not, dogs are considered property and this status means that they cannot inherit money.  The money you leave to your dog will likely be re-distributed to other beneficiaries.

Here’s a good (and brief) article about providing for your dog in your will.

Kathleen Crisley, Fear-Free certified professional and specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

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