While not a pleasant thought, if you have children, you have most likely considered what would happen to them if you were no longer around to take care of them. But have you considered what might happen to your pet if you were suddenly not there to take care of them?
Read this insightful article about pet planning. Just like estate planning, there are a number of things to consider.
Adviser Counsels Pet-Friendly Planning
by Max Alexander, January 7, 2010
Wall Street Journal Blogs, Financial Adviser
Mention “pets” and “estate planning” in the same sentence, and many people think of the late Leona Helmsley, the Manhattan hotelier and convicted tax cheat who left $12 million to Trouble, her Maltese pooch, and also specified that her trust of more than $5 billion be used to benefit dogs.
A judge later reduced Trouble’s personal bequest to $2 million, and the Helmsley estate decided to give only $1 million to dog causes. But the will added to the public perception of Helmsley as someone with a distant relationship to reality.
That’s too bad, says Sue Stevens, a financial planner, CPA and self-described “huge animal lover” who counsels clients to consider their pets when making estate plans.
Stevens, the founder of Stevens Wealth Management in Deerfield, Ill., discusses pet planning in her new book, Put Your Money Where Your Heart Is, as well as on her Web site, Financial-Happiness.com. “You don’t have to be Leona Helmsley,” she says, “but if you don’t have a plan, your loyal companions could end up in a shelter,” where they will be euthanized or donated to research labs if they are not adopted.
Pets need not get the royal treatment in a will, says Stevens, who was director of financial planning at Morningstar for nine years. But she cites four steps that any pet lover should take when planning an estate:
Read the rest of Max’s article on pet planning.