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Plan Ahead for Your Pets

How can you make sure that your beloved pets get the right care when you’re no longer around to provide it?

Can you write them into your will? Unfortunately, no. Only people can inherit property. However, Georgia statute allows the creation of pet trusts. A pet trust gives you a legal way to leave money to a pet. These estate planning vehicles are ideal for people who want to make sure that their pets are well cared for after they are gone.

Before pet trusts, there was no way to make sure that money left for the care of a pet would actually be used to care of the pet. You might write in your will, "I give any cats in my name at the time of my death to Mr. Jones, and I give Mr. Jones $10,000 each for each dog living at the time of my death." Despite this language in a person’s will, there was no way to verify that the money left for the pets would be used property. Mr. Jones could take the money allocated for the dogs and then take the dogs to the pet shelter to be euthanized.

A pet trust eliminates that horrifying possibility. It allows you to retain control of the pet’s care after you die by listing who you want to have in charge of your pet.

In case you’re wondering, a pet trust isn’t a free-for-all. In some states, the pet trust statue contains a clause that says that if a judge determines that the amount of money being left to a pet exceeds what the pet's true needs are, then that money can be taken away from the pet trust. That's what happened in the Leona Helmsley case. The hotel magnate left millions to her animals, only to have the judge deem the amount excessive and divert the money outside the pet trust.

If you’re wondering what will happen to your beloved companions after you’re gone, why not look into a pet trust? When you’re ready to get started, Kimbrough Law is here to help. Just give us a call.

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