What is a Pet Trust?
According to the 2019-2020 National Pet Owners Survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association (APPA), sixty-seven (67%) percent of households in the United States are pet owners. As such, there is a growing need to account for pets when conducting estate plans. It is increasingly more common for individuals to account for their pets by having their attorney draft a pet trust.
In Florida, these trusts are governed under Florida Statute 736.0408. A Pet Trust, similar to ordinary trusts, can be inter vivos or testamentary and the Grantor/Settlor appoints a trustee to look after the assets for the benefit of the pet. The trustee is held to the same fiduciary standard as other trusts and the grantor can create specific rules on what the trustee is obligated to follow for the care and maintenance of the pet. The Pet Trust will terminate on the date of the pet’s death. The remaining assets are then paid to the decedent’s beneficiaries or to a designated charitable organization.
Pet Trusts were made famous by a New York Real Estate Tycoon, Leona Helmsley, who left her Maltese pet ‘’Trouble’, an inter vivos pet trust funded with $12,000,000. The Court later ruled that the funds were excessive and reduced the trust to $2,000,000, as it found that $2,000,000 was enough for her Maltese to live for his lifetime.
Although, at the time in which Mrs. Helmsley’s pet trust story came out to the public, it seemed outrageous, now a days it has become more common for people to think about creating one for their pets almost as much as they would for their children.
This post is not legal advice and is written for marketing purposes only. The information should not be relied upon, You should seek legal advice when performing an estate plan or have a tax issue.