Most of us will have the urge, as we age, to put our affairs in order so that when we die, our estate is apportioned as we direct. However, what is to become of your beloved pet? More and more people, unwilling to depend on sympathetic friends or family to properly take care of their cats or dogs, are choosing to set up pet trusts.

Why not, you may wonder, simply leave some money in the will for Pookey's care? Two reasons; the money could be held up in probate for months or years, and Pookey would get very hungry waiting for his Alpo. Secondly, the will may not contractually bind the person to whom you will Pookey's care. Can you count on their cooperation?

A pet trust can be set up with an organization such as the New York not-for-profit Bideawee animal welfare organization. For $15,000, they promise to look after Pookey for the rest of his life, providing the atmosphere and care that will help him recover from the loss of his master. There are even attorneys that specialize in setting up pet trusts. Since the trusts are not recognized in all states, checking with one might be worth the money.

So if you fear that your deadbeat son-in-law can't wait to squander your estate on the blackjack tables of Las Vegas, a pet trust might bring peace of mind to both you and your favorite lap warmer.


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