Earlier this month, the media reported that dead scary lady Leona Helmsley left $12 million to her dog, presumably to ensure that Trouble is well cared for, but also to be humorously cruel to the two grandchildren who got nothing. This inspired USA Today’s “Your Money” columnist Sandra Block to list 3 ways you can plan for your pet’s continued care after you go to “have tea with Mrs. Helmsley” (we don’t want to upset the children in the room).
The first, and most outlandish/awesome suggestion, is to set up a trust fund. It’s actually more practical and cheaper than you think, at least if you live in one of the 38 states (or D.C.) where it’s legal. These “statutory pet trusts” require only a few more lines in your will, and can be for as little as $100. If you go this route, see an attorney and make sure you address the following items:
know who will manage your trust;
know how you want the money to be spent;
provide instructions on what to do with unused funds when the pet dies (we bet this one keeps Trouble awake at night);
and know how you’ll fund the trust.
If you can’t or don’t want to set up a statutory pet trust, you can bequeath your pet to a friend or relative, then then threaten to haunt them if they fail to take good care of Sprinkles. Or, you can set up a separate bank account to fund the care and feeding of the pet and name the selected caretaker as the beneficiary. Or you can die alone.