Creating an estate plan is a bit like going to the dentist; in that most of us know we should do it, but there's always an excuse to put if off a little while longer. In fact, over half of all Americans have yet to create an estate plan. One common excuse people give for not having an estate plan is they don't yet need one. So, when should you talk to an estate planning attorney about creating your estate plan? The answer is simple. Every adult should have at least a basic estate plan in place. … [Read more...] about When Should You Talk to an Estate Planning Attorney about Creating Your Estate Plan?
According to the Humane Society of the United States, there are just over 86 million owned cats in the United States. One in three households in America includes at least one or more cats as part of the family. Unlike dog owners who are more likely to only own one dog, cat lovers, on average, own at last two cats. If you are a cat lover, have you given any thought to what will happen to your cat when you die? As a general rule, people who own cats consider them to be part of the family. Some … [Read more...] about What Will Happen to Your Cat When You Die?
It is always interesting how the laws in different countries can be so similar and yet so different at the same time. In estate law, most European countries have fairly similar laws to what we have in the United States. We can read their laws and read news stories about estates in European countries and have a good idea of what is going on. But, there are always important differences. For example, in Italy a wealthy woman recently left her entire estate to her dog. Italian law, however, does … [Read more...] about Leaving Money to Your Dog
There is no question that our pets often become a major part of our family unit. Because of this, pet planning has become a critical part of the estate planning process. When you think forward to the future, it is important to make sure that your pet is also considered during that process. While we would all like to think that our family and friends would step up to take care of our pets after we die, you don't want to leave anything to chance. If you happen to pass away before your pet, … [Read more...] about Pet Planning: Should You Set Up a Trust?
Karel Fortyn was 52 when he died of a stroke in early May. He was a life-long lover of reptiles, and he’d built a business around them: Fortyn was the owner of the Seaway Serpentarium in Ontario, Canada. The Serpentarium, operated out of Fortyn’s home, boasted a collection of more than 200 snakes and other reptiles – many of them rare species. Aside from his collection of reptiles, Fortyn left behind a former common-law wife and a brother, but, unfortunately, no Will. Now, his brother and his … [Read more...] about An Unusual Example of the Need for Estate Planning
What is your plan for taking care of your pet after you’ve passed away? If you are thinking about establishing a pet trust to ensure your pet is well cared for, there are some things you’ll need to let your pet’s guardian know. For instance: Your Pet’s Habits and Quirks You and your pet share a home, so you’re well aware of its feeding schedule, when it needs to go for a walk, and what its favorite toys are. You also know how to deal with your pet’s quirks, whether they include a morbid fear … [Read more...] about What Your Pet’s Guardian Needs To Know
Sometimes, our pets can seem so much like our children that it’s hard to remember they’re not actually people. And when it comes to estate planning, it’s easy to make the mistake of treating a pet like a person by including Fido or Fluffy in your Will, and leaving property directly to him or her. The problem with this is that, in the eyes of the law, pets are property themselves, so you can’t leave property to them. There are two ways to provide for your pet after you’re gone. 1. Leave … [Read more...] about Estate Planning Mistake: Leaving Money to Your Pet
It’s something that might not immediately spring to mind during the estate planning process, but if you’re a pet owner, you’ll want to think about including your pet in your estate plan. If your pet is left out of your estate plan, then it’s treated like the rest of your property. For lucky pets, this means a new life with a loving, caring family member. For the unlucky ones, though, the future can be bleak – often pets wind up without a home when their owners die. So, how can you make sure … [Read more...] about What Will Happen to Your Pet When You Pass Away?