On January 7, 2011, “Governor Deval Patrick signed into law An Act Relative to Trusts for the Care of Animals to allow legally enforceable trusts to provide for the care of one or more animals if the trust’s creator becomes incapacitated in any way or dies.” (MSPCA-Angell Press Release). The law takes effect in 90 days in Massachusetts.
MSPCA’s Director of Advocacy stated “When this law takes effect families with pets will be able to provide financial resources for the care of their animals in the event of incapacity or death, benefitting people as well as the pets. Additionally, the burden placed on municipal shelters and rescue organizations will now be eased as there is a viable, enforceable alternative plan for the care of animals.” Read More
My next concern would be to ask myself “Whom would I entrust with the care of Gracie and Luke?” Well, luckily I have Rob, but also some great friends and family members that I could count on to take very good care of my two monsters!
The Pet Trust law prohibits the person you entrust from using any of the funds for other purposes. It also provides a legal avenue to enforce the deceases owner’s wishes if a person or organization believes that the money set aside for your pet’s care is being misused.
There are some restrictions that many people should be aware of. This law permits judges to reduce the amount of a pet care trust if it substantially exceeds the amount required to care for the pet, making sure the animal’s care is not impacted in any way.
According to an MSPCA fact sheet, between 12 and 27 percent of pet owners include their pets in estate planning, and more than a third of Massachusetts households are home to a dog or cat.
There have been instances where people believe certain pet trusts have been misused, but the idea of putting my mind at ease that Gracie and Luke will be cared for and not tossed into a shelter, in the event that something happens, gives me peace of mind.
Animal shelter statistics are staggering. “Approximately 5 million to 7 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year, and approximately 3 million to 4 million are euthanized (60 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats). Shelter intakes are about evenly divided between those animals relinquished by owners and those picked up by animal control. These are national estimates; the percentage of euthanasia may vary from state to state.” (ASPCA)
Pet Trusts have now opened a door to continuing pet care for animals and keeping them out of shelters. We’d love to hear your thoughts on the new law and Pet Trusts in general. Would you write your pet into your will? Write your comments below.