More and more commonly, clients task estate planning attorneys with taking care of a pet if the unfortunate happens to the client/owner. Between 12 and 27% of people who draft wills include provisions for their pet, often in the form of pet trusts.
Pet trusts have been around for quite some time, but were made famous by some select wealthy widowers who left entire fortunes in trust for their beloved dogs and cats. Among a growing number of pet provisions and pet trusts, Leona Helmsley left her Maltese as her biggest heir, with $12 million in a very elaborate pet trust. Michael Jackson left his chimpanzee, Bubbles, $1 million. Gail Posner left $3 million to her three pet Chihuahuas, as well as an $8 million mansion.
Pet trusts have two potential uses. The first is to transfer the pet to the person who will have ownership over the pet. A pet trust is not required to include a transfer provision of the pet, but ensures the pet will go to who you, the trustor, specifically want to have control over your pet. Read more
It’s not often in the legal world that we get to participate in win-win situations. Normally if one party wins, it means another loses. For every plaintiff who wins a million dollar verdict, there is a respondent who has to pay it. But this type of zero-sum game is not always the case. The Washington First Responder Will Clinics provide a “win” for all the parties involved.
The clients— police, firefighters, and their spouses from all across the state—get customized and completed estate planning documents at no cost. They get the peace of mind that comes with knowing they have planned ahead for their family, should the worst happen. And they get to see first-hand how much their communities appreciate the dangerous work they do. (For those of you scoring at home, we’re at 1-0.) Read more