Well, it’s official:  Our adopted black kitties are members of the family without prejudice.

You may remember my telling you when Karen and I brought them home.  They are really cute and provide us a lot of entertainment and, of course, love.  (Did you know it’s been proven that one’s blood pressure slightly decreases when petting a purring cat?)

You may also have a family pet that is like a member of your family.  Have you thought about what happens to them if something happens to you?  It’s no longer a laughing stock who makes provision in Estate Planning for their animals.  The majority of pets left without such provision are generally taken to the pound.  In some states, they are euthanized within 72 hours.

Until recent history, the US almost always overturned pet trusts if contested because the law considered pets to be property and not entities legally entitled to receive an inheritance.  But that’s no longer the case in 38 states.

And that’s a positive trend in our country that is long overdue.  The first time a pet trust was upheld in Europe was in 1888, so it took us a while to begin catching up.

You don’t have to be ultra wealthy just to make provision for what happens to your pet(s) in your estate plan.  It’s common sense that you wouldn’t leave your beloved animals without any provision at all.

It’s estimated that it’s grown to somewhere between 12% and 27% who will include their pets in their estate planning.  The media has made some interesting revelations about pet owners who provided for care of their furry companions. A couple of examples are:

Dusty Springfield made provision for her cat, Nicholas, so that he was always fed imported baby food, slept in a bed lined with her night gown, and her songs would be played to Nicholas at nightly bedtimes.

Doris Duke, the sole heir of “Buck” Duke (founded Duke University and American Tobacco Company) left $100,000 in a trust for her dog.

Natalie Schafer (Lovey on Gilligan’s Island) provided that her entire estate be used for the benefit of her dog.

These are stories that only someone who also has furry family members can appreciate and even come close to understanding, I think!

But you can also – even if you don’t have the wealth of Oprah – make provisions for your pets if they survive you.

Call me and let’s chat about it!  I’ll tell you the simple steps to take to ensure that your wishes are carried out in the way that you want and ensure that they are legally binding and permanent.

Stick around and read the featured article about this very topic.

Until next time,

Gerry