Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Pet Trusts

Who will be your pet's guardian when you are not there? Providing loving care to your pet is a lifelong commitment. In light of recent legislation that allows use of pet trusts in Massachusetts, I have been drafting estate plans in which clients have provided for their pets.

The History of Estate Planning and Pets
• The concept is based on English common law, and was not introduced into the American legal system until the last century. In 1923, the Kentucky Supreme Court considered this issue and held that a bequest to a trust for a pet was valid, under a law that allowed gifts for humane purposes.
• Most states have now adopted pet trust statutes.
• In Massachusetts, M.G.L c.430 is An Act Relative to Trusts for the Care of Animals. It was enacted January 7, 2011, and covers trusts set up for the care of your pets after your death.

Taxes and Pet Planning
• The IRS does not yet recognize a trust whose beneficiary is an animal, but still requires that such entities are taxed under Section 641, as a trust!
• Presently, we cannot enjoy any income tax or estate tax deduction for gifts to a charitable trust when the non-charitable trust distributions are solely for the benefit of an animal.

Plan now: All too often, animal shelters and animal rescue organizations find that the incapacity or death of an owner results in abandonment, surrender or the inability to care for a pet. Here at Denise Kent Law Group, we respect your wishes and recognize the importance of pets as family members.

We look forward to helping you take care of your dependents.