Recently, Karl Lagerfeld passed away. Although the details of his estate planning have not been yet revealed and might never be if he engaged in the comprehensive process, his beloved cat is likely to have been featured in his estate planning in some way.
In the past, the most traditional thing to do to support the care of a loving pet was to gift the animal to a friend or family member to take care of them.
The hope in this informal type of planning was that this other person will provide care and love to the pet in the same manner that you did. However, the role that pets in our modern lives has involved and many people view their animals as part of their family, which is why an increasing number of individuals and families are incorporating pets into the estate planning process through a tool known as a pet trust.
Most people became familiar with pet trusts when Leona Helmsley set aside money for her dog after she passed away. Inside a pet trust, a custodian has the legal authority to request money and the trust specifies that the purpose of the money should be directed towards the care of the pet.
It is sometimes unrealistic to find two different custodians such as someone who takes custody of and request the individual funds for the pet and someone who manages the money for the pet. The care and maintenance of the pet should be something carefully considered by the person putting together a pet trust.
Make sure that you select someone who understands what you intend with your estate planning tool in terms of the quality of care and daily life provided to your animal.