Pet Trusts. As with anything in life, sometimes things don’t work out as planned.  So, my belief is to always have a Plan B. When you prepare accordingly, it’s more likely you will have a successful outcome.  Here are three examples of creative planning by pet owners. As you read this post, think of what lessons you can take away.

Pet Trusts. David Harper and his Tabby Cat Red.

David Harper was a wealthy Canadian bachelor. He was not a famous person while alive, but in death, he became very recognized. Mr. Harper made headlines by apparently bequeathing his entire $1.1 million dollar estate to Red, his tabby cat. He was smart, in that, to ensure Red would get his due, Mr. Harper left his fortune to the United Church of Canada. In his estate documents he stipulated that the church take care of Red. Lucky for Red, the maneuver worked. 

Lesson learned: You can be creative in your approach to making sure your pets receive proper care after you’re gone.

Pet Trusts. Maria Assunta and Lucky Tommaso.

I love rags-to-riches stories, especially when animals are involved. Here is a version of such a story. Maria Assunta, a wealthy Italian widow, rescued a stray cat from the streets of Rome. She named her new family member Tommaso. As her health failed, she tried to secure a home for Tommaso, to no avail. A thought occurred to her: make her nurse the caretaker of her furry friend. Due to her creative planning, Ms. Assunta’s $13 million estate was left to Tommaso with her nurse as Tommaso’s caretaker.  Lucky caretaker and even luckier Tommaso!  

Lesson learned: The best way to ensure the care of your pet is by having carefully drafted estate documents.

Patricia O’Neill and Poor Kalu.

This example is proof that wealth doesn’t guarantee wise choices. Patricia O’Neill was the daughter of British nobility and the ex-spouse of Olympian Frank O’Neill. Ms. O’Neill erroneous believed she had $70 million to distribute through her will.  She arguably left it all to her pets, including her chimpanzee, Kalu. In 2010, it was discovered that Ms. O’Neill was basically broke. Her financial advisor was a crook and took her to the cleaners. This, while she was alive.

Lessons learned: You cannot give away something you don’t have.  If caring for your pets is important to you, make sure your financial house is in order.  

Establishing a pet trust is the best way to ensure that your beloved pets receive the care they deserve after you pass away. I am here to discuss creative ways to help you protect your furry family members. To learn more about your options, give me a call today.

Francine D. Ward
Attorney-At-Law, Author, Speaker

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