How to Leave $12MM to Your Pet

By: Jim Dossey, MS, MBA, JD

Leona Helmsley, the "Queen of Mean", famously left $12 million to her dog Trouble in a trust her Last Will and Testament. When Trouble passes on, she is to be buried next to Ms. Helmsley in her $1.4 million New York mausoleum.

Because you can only leave money to a human, you cannot give money directly to your pet in your Will. However, you can leave your pet to someone (with or without money) in your Will or you can create a pet trust to help take care of your pet. Finally, you can sign up with a program through a charitable organization established for this purpose.

The A&M Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences division has established such a program. Pet owners can set up an endowment for their pet through the Stevenson Companion Animal Life-Care Center. How much will it cost to set up an endowment for your pet? For small animals, if you are in your thirties, you can establish an endowment for $10,000. The cost increases up to $50,000 if you are at least 70 years old. For large animals, such as a horse, the cost varies between $20,000 and $100,000 depending on your age.

Here is the website: http://vetmed.tamu.edu/stevenson-center

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