Estate Planning for Your Covid Puppy

November 17, 2021 Ian Hull Estate Planning, General Interest Tags: , , , 0 Comments

As Covid-19 cases began surging in March of 2020, so too did puppy sales. Breeders, shelters, and private rescues reported an insufficient supply of puppies to meet the unprecedented consumer demands. Desperate for companionship, yearning to fill the void of loneliness, or simply ready for the time commitment required to raise a puppy, many North Americans eagerly placed their names on lengthy waitlists, many of which went into 2021.

Pet owners should be cognizant of their furry child’s dependence and the responsibility accompanied by such dependence. Consistent with any significant change in one’s life, it is important for new puppy owners to review and amend their wills to ensure their furry child is provided for in the event that he/she should survive his/her owner. In addition to providing for the continued financial support of your pet, owners should make special provisions for the physical care of their beloved animals. Including a clause in your will with a named caregiver could avoid a family dispute over ownership.

The subject of bequests made to pets might prompt some to reflect on the significant sum of money Leona Helmsley bequeathed to her Maltese, Trouble, in 2007, which resulted in lengthy litigation. Others might consider the $30 million fortune Oprah Winfrey plans to leave for the future care of her dogs. It is not entirely uncommon to witness such excessive sums of money being left to pets, especially by celebrities and those with enormous wealth.

The latest four-legged friend to become a millionaire is Nashville Border Collie, Lulu. When Bill Dorris (“Dorris”) was preparing his estate plan, his utmost priority was ensuring that his beloved Lulu was taken care of after his passing. As such, Dorris left $5 million in trust for the sole purpose of satisfying the future needs of Lulu. It is safe to assume that Lulu will be one spoiled puppy!

While the aforementioned examples represent the testamentary intentions of those with tremendous affluence, it is important that even owners with modest estates provide for their pets when drafting or amending their wills.

Thank you for reading!

Ian Hull & Tori Joseph

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