A few weeks ago a rescued stray cat inherited 13 million dollars from her owner who died at age 94. The woman had rescued the cat years earlier and the cat was the woman’s only family. She had no children and was never married. She wanted to leave her entire estate to her cat.
Under Italian law, as under New York law, estate assets cannot be left directly to a pet. Assets intended to pay for the care of a pet must be left to a person, trust, or organization who can legally own and manage the assets. The Italian woman looked for an animal shelter or organization to which she could leave her large estate assets but she did not think any of them would care for pet the way she wanted. The woman ended up naming her nurse as trustee of the assets for her cat. After hearing the news, the nurse told reporters the cat was the woman’s only family. The nurse had no idea the woman was so wealthy.
If you want to make sure your pet is taken care of when you are gone, you can also establish a trust into which estate assets can be placed for the purpose of caring for the pet. A pet trust does not typically have millions of dollars.
Getting Legal Help
Experienced Estate Planning Attorney Elga Goodman can help you create a pet trust and a plan which protects your privacy, your assets, and your loved ones. Call us today at 973-841-5111.