When it comes to caring for pets, many people spare no expense, meaning their dogs, cats, birds, horses or whatever animals they own always receive the very best of everything from food and veterinary care to grooming and toys.
This level of devotion makes perfect sense when you stop to consider that statistics show that not only are two-thirds of all Americans now pet owners, but that almost 90 percent consider their pets to be family.
In fact, many people love their pets so much that they are now executing what are known as pet trusts in order to ensure that their beloved animals are cared for in the event of their demise or incapacity.
Some may naturally approach the idea of executing a pet trust with a degree of skepticism, likely doubting that such instruments are even recognized under the law.
This makes perfect sense given that the law has indeed historically treated pets as personal property for estate planning purposes, meaning they could neither own property nor be named as a beneficiary to a trust.
However, it's important to understand that this longstanding view underwent a fundamental change roughly two decades ago when the Uniform Probate Code officially recognized the legal validity of pet trusts, a move that resulted in many states passing their own pet trust laws.
In fact, 46 states currently recognize the validity of pet trusts, including Florida, which enacted a law to this effect back in 2003.
We will continue to examine this topic in our next post, including taking a closer look at how pet trusts work and how they are treated by the Internal Revenue Service.
Consider speaking with an experienced legal professional if you have questions regarding estate planning, estate administration or other related matters.