Many states, including Arizona, have laws that allow people to create trusts for the benefit of family pets. Texas Tech University School of Law Professor Gerry W. Beyer published an article on this subject called “Critters in the Estate Plan.” Here’s the abstract:
“Shadow, Dolly, Spot, Lady, Ming, Trouble, Roxy, and Madam Shan are just a few of the pets that have received favored treatment in their owners’ wills. Because of the foresight of their humans, these beloved companions lived out their lives in comfortable surroundings rather than meeting the Grim Reaper in the local animal shelter’s death chamber.
Virtually all clients want to provide for their pets but few actually do. Why is this? For the most part, either they do not plan their estates as is the case with most Americans or their estate planning attorneys neglect to explain how they can make arrangements for their four-legged, feathered, or scaly friends.
Lawyers should, and may be ethically obligated to, inquire about their client’s pets so that they can make certain their clients’ pets are properly cared for when the client is unable to do so due to injury, illness, or death. This article provides information designed to assist estate planners to carry out the wishes of their pet owning clients.”