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Yes, You Can Create a Trust for Your Pets

Clarkston Legal Nov. 2, 2011

Recently, one of our estate planning clients wanted us to set aside a significant portion of her estate to care for her beloved pets; all four of them. So we arranged for a trust to be set up for the specific purpose of caring for her pampered pets.

This arrangement, more common than you think, is the subject of a new book titled, “Fat Cats & Lucky Dogs”, co-authored by Grand Haven, Michigan native Gerry Beyer; now a law professor at Texas Tech School of Law.

We would emphasize the sub-title on Professor Beyer’s book: “How to Leave (Some of) Your Estate to Your Pet”.

In Michigan, decedents can also leave a portion of their estate to pets in a will. This concept was challenged by the family members of a decedent who left $9 million to her cat. The case originated in the Wayne County Probate Court; the probate judge assigned to the case upheld the decedent’s wishes. His decision was affirmed on appeal.

Beyer’s book walks you through the establishment of a trust with the assistance of an attorney; contains sample trust and will provisions; surveys state pet trust statutes (there are none in Michigan); references “after-death” pet services; and animal retirement homes.

If you are this kind of person, hit the web link to the author’s book above for more information.