Animals are not allowed to own personal property, so the answer is no, you cannot bequeath property to a pet in a last will.
Absolutely, a pet is considered to be property and a will can be utilized to state your wishes regarding the transfer of your property. However, pet ownership is a very big responsibility, so you should definitely make sure that the person that you have in mind is willing to care for the animal.
You could leave the caretaker a direct bequest with stipulations that the money will be used to take care of the pet.
Yes, there is an ideal device for pet planning. You could create a pet trust for the benefit of your pet. Laws in all 50 states allow for the creation of pet trusts.
Assets are conveyed into the trust for the benefit of the pet. A trustee is named by you to act as the Trustee after you pass away. The trustee does not necessarily have to be someone that you know personally. This can be an ideal solution, even if you do not know anyone that would be a suitable caretaker. In the trust declaration, you could instruct the trustee to identify an individual or entity that would be willing to provide the pet with a good home. You can also leave specific instructions with regard to the way you want the pet to be cared for after your passing. The trustee would be legally compelled to make sure that your wishes are carried out, and this is another major benefit of a pet trust.
In the state of Arkansas, the trust would no longer exist after the death of the pet if it was created to benefit a single animal. If there are multiple pets named in the trust, it would terminate when the last one dies.
When the terms are set, a successor beneficiary is named to assume ownership of any remainder that may be left in the trust after the death of the animal.
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