New Massachusetts Bill Gives Peace of Mind when Including Pets in Your Estate Plan
A new law (effective April 7, 2011) makes it easier to include your pets in your estate planning.
Before the new law, if you left money to a human to care for your pet in your will or in a trust, and if your trustee or caregiver did not use the money to care for the pet, your pet was out of luck. Our human centric laws would not allow the pet to go to court to enforce the will or trust, plus we all know, they aren’t good with deadlines which are important in litigation., (especially cats, they think the world revolves around them and deadlines aren’t set in stone).Under the previous law, designated pet caregivers were not legally bound to use money for pet care.
But this changed on January 7, 2011 when Governor Deval Patrick signed An Act Relative to Trusts for the Care of Animals (hyperlink: http://www.mass.gov/legis/bills/house/186/ht01pdf/ht01467.pdf ). Taking effect on April 7, 2011, this new pet trusts legislation will allow people to institute trusts providing for the care of their pets after the owner’s death. Pet caregivers will then be legally required to use funds from the pet trust specifically for the care of the pet. The trust would remain valid until a prescribed date or when the animal dies.
This bill was supported by the MSPCA and will help to decrease the number of abandoned animals. They have more information on their website http://www.mspca.org/about-us/press-room/2011/governor-patrick-signs-pet.html