There are many things to consider when planning your estate, not the least of which is what will happen to your pets when you are gone. Who do you want to take care of the pet? Does that person agree to take care of the pet? What instructions does that person need? What resources does that person need? Every so often these issues become national news. Leona Helmsley left $12 million in trust for animals, including her dog Trouble, which the court later reduced this to $2 million. Maybe more practically, actress Lauren Bacall recently willed $10,000.00 to her son to care for her dog.
In Pennsylvania, there are many ways to prepare for this in your estate planning. Pets cannot inherit money or property under a Will, but they can be given to beneficiaries like other tangible items. Testators should consider giving that caretaker an additional monetary gift to provide for expenses. In 2006, Pennsylvania passed a law which permitted trusts for the care of animals (20 Pa.C.S.A. §7738).