Trusts Series Part V: Pet Trusts

Over the past several decades the issue of caring for pets after the death of their owner has arisen in the field of estate planning. People often worry about how their pets will be cared for after they pass, and this can lead them to make unusual estate planning decisions. Perhaps the most famous case of over-the-top pet planning involved Leona Helmsley and her Maltese dog, Trouble.


Ms. Helmsley, an incredibly wealthy businesswoman, left a $12 million trust fund to be used to care for Trouble. This amount was eventually lowered to $2 million. While noteworthy and maybe even comical, this is an excellent example of the love that people have for their pets and the lengths that they will go to in order to provide for them.


The average person does not have the means to create a $2 million trust to care for their dog, but that does not mean that a pet trust is not permitted. Massachusetts has no official statutes relating to the creation of a trust for the care of a pet after its owner’s death.  However, this does not prevent the creation of one.


The creation of a pet trust may still be accomplished so long as the property held by the trust is not of an unreasonable amount and the provisions in the trust make it clear that the funds within the trust are to be used for the care and comfort of the pet. It would also be beneficial to name a trustee who is fully aware of the provisions in the trust and is willing to take the pet into his or her home after you have passed.

Tags: , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.