In 2016 Minnesota became the final state to offer estate planning for pets. Previously, there was no mechanism to set aside funds to take care of your pets after you died. But as anyone who has a pet knows, pets are part of the family. They need to be taken care of as well.
The recently enacted Minnesota Statute 501c.0408 – Trust for Care of Animal, allows a person to form a trust to provide for the care of an animal alive during the person's lifetime. The trust terminates upon the death of the animal. Or, if the trust was for multiple animals, it terminates upon the death of the last surviving animal. Regardless, the trust may not be enforced for more than 90 years, but as long as you do not have a tortoise, you'll probably be fine.
The other primary limitation to the trust is a sensible one. The value of the trust property cannot exceed the amount required for the taking care of the pet. What this means has not yet been litigated. In some instances, however, this has been taken to the extreme. Take for instance the state of Sam Simon, co-creator of The Simpsons who left $140,000 to care for his 5-year-old Cane Corso. The dog's weekly therapeutic care regimen includes, for example, biweekly acupuncture, which costs more than $3,600 per month.
Whether you think the full LA lifestyle is appropriate for your pet, or a more modest $1,000 per expected year of your pet's life is appropriate, it is certainly reasonable to leave something to take care of basic needs of your pet after you die. At the very least, someone needs to be named that can take the pet. And it needs to be done in such a way that possession can happen right away without sending Fido to the pound.
Pets are family too, and we need to be sure to plan for them after we pass. With the recently enacted law, now we have a way to do just that. If you have a pet that you want to care for after you die, contact Signature Law for a free consultation to review your options.