I know it sounds horrible. My dog is like my child and she is treated as such. Besi, my seven-year-old chihuahua has never thought herself a dog. She feels human. She does not fetch or do doggy things. She sits and cuddles and loves sleeping in my bed. She loves the attention and the care. Is she my property? Sure, she is (even though she thinks she owns me). Under the law, Besi is a piece of personal property.
So, for many years, a piece of personal property could not inherit property, only humans could. Eventually, Florida allowed for pet owners to leave in place protections for their pet through the creation of a pet’s trust. These trusts can provide for a dog or any other pet during the life of the trust creator or pet owner, which comes very handy in events of incapacity) or after the pet owner (or trust creator) dies.
Everyone’s reaction is usually “I am not going to die yet.” You are probably not, but what if there is an accident and you need to be in the hospital or rehabilitation for several months? You are alive and you will be well, but what happens to your pets during that period of time? Who will provide their basic needs for them, buy food, do their shots, buy shampoo and bath them? As with a child, a pet is your responsibility and proper planning is essential for their well-being and protection. Would you like to see your furred family member in a shelter?
Just as with any other aspect of your life, proper planning can take care of all your needs and the needs of your family, including your pets. So when you put your estate plan in place, do not forget to mention that “member of the family” that will not ask for anything but will be needy without you.
Want to know more? Send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call my office at 305-456-7158 and we can schedule a Life Planning and Beyond Session with me so we can review all your needs and options.
My loving pets:
Left to Right: Besi (a/k/a Tuti), Dana, and Corazoncito Azul (a/k/a Pitita)
Yahima Suarez, JD