Lucky dog! A Texas dog stands to inherit the estate of his former Texas master.
Kenneth Bortz accumulated a sizable estate during his life including enough furnishings to fill ten homes, reports the New York Daily News. However, when he passed away, none of his family members wanted his collection of china, furniture, and other collectibles.
As a result, the items went up for sale and the proceeds will be used to care for his dog. Fortuitously, the lucky dog's name happens to be "Lucky."
As dogs play a larger role in people's lives and are oftentimes treated as family, more and more people are accounting for man's best friend in their wills. However, estate planning for pets can be extremely complicated as many jurisdictions consider pets as property -- and property cannot inherit property. In the eyes of the law, it would be the equivalent of giving away money to your couch, flat-screen televisions, or other possession.
As a result, while you usually cannot directly give away your assets to your dog, you can create other devices like a trust to provide for your pet.
With a trust, an individual would name a trustee who would oversee the funds for some enumerated purpose. You can fund the trust with all of your assets at death, and you can give instructions to your trustee to shelter, feed, and otherwise care for your pet. Upon the death of the pet, you can name beneficiaries who would inherit the remainder of the estate.
To make sure your dog receives an "inheritance" and is cared for after death, you will want to talk to an experienced estate planning attorney. The attorney can structure the trust to meet your objectives and also withstand challenge.
- A Dog Named Lucky Has Inherited All His Owner's Worldly Possessions (Business Insider)
- Brief Overview of Pet Trust Laws (Animal Legal & Historical Center)
- Careful When Naming Pets in Your Will (FindLaw's Law & Daily Life)