Effective April 7, 2011, residents of Massachusetts may now establish pet trusts to care for one or more animals, living during the settlor’s lifetime.
This trust now allows individuals to plan for and take care of their pets not only during their lifetime but also after their death. The court does retain the right to reduce the amount left in trust for the care of a pet if the court finds that, “the amount substantially exceeds the amount required for the intended use and the court finds that there will be no substantial adverse impact in the care, maintenance, health or appearance of the animal or animals.”
Let’s all remember Lenora Helmsley and $12,000,000 trust established to care for her Maltese, Trouble. This is not a method to be used to keep your money from your heirs but is meant to ensure that your animals are taken care of after your death. It is a wonderful estate planning tool now available to residents of Massachsuetts.