William Roberts Lindsay never visited Scotland, but fell in love with the land of his ancestors because of the 1954 movie “Brigadoon.” The retired investor, who lived as a recluse in the Nevada desert, shot himself in November and left his entire estate – valued at around $4 million – to the National Trust for Scotland, which he had donated another $4 million to approximately 18 months prior to his death.
According to a news report, Lindsay had only two friends in his life: a pet pug and his barber, Elton Marvin. He left the pug to Mr. Marvin, along with some dog treats and food as well as a vet bill – but left no money for the pug’s care. Mr. Marvin was quoted as saying, “I love the dog, but so far it’s cost me about $300. The folks in Scotland are doing all right.”
Checklist For Pet Guardians & Protection Trusts
Determine who will act as the trustee and gain their permission to name them in your trust documents. You will need to provide their name and address.
Determine a successor trustee in case your primary trustee is unable to fulfill his or her role according to your pet trust.
If different from the trustee, name a primary caregiver and a successor caregiver for your pets.
Furnish photos and microchip ID numbers for each pet included in the trust to prevent fraud.
Outline the care of each pet in detail, including a requirement for veterinary visits, nutritional needs, health care needs, etc.
Select a beneficiary to receive any funds that are left over after the last pet provided for in the trust has died.
Determine how much cash or assets are needed to properly care for your pet(s). Be realistic, as your heirs could challenge an excessive amount left for the care of pets. Include the costs of administering the trust as well.
Provide instructions for the burial or cremation of your pet(s).
Millions of Americans have pets and the popularity of pet trusts has never been greater. Had Mr. Lindsay established a pet trust for the care of his beloved pug Midget, Mr. Marvin would not have been left with the burden of caring for the animal a burden that may eventually cause him to seek other arrangements for the pet’s care.
An estate planner can help establish a pet trust for the care and guardianship of any animals that my outlive their owners. Contact your estate planner to learn more about pet trusts and the variety of financial instruments available for funding your pet trust.