On January 7, 2011, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed “An Act Relative to Trusts For The Care of Animals.” This law will finally allow Massachusetts residents to create legally enforceable trusts that can hold money for the care of their animals. The animal will now be able to be the beneficiary of the trust, with a Trustee appointed to manage the funds and care for the pet. The new law will take effect on April 7, 2011.
Without this law, Massachusetts pet owners can only leave that money to a person, and hope that the money would be used to care for the pet. The caretaker was under no legal obligation to actually use the money for the pet. Now, Massachusetts joins 43 other states that allow “Pet Trusts.”
Probably the most famous beneficiary of a “Pet Trust” was Leona Helmsley’s Maltese poodle, Trouble Helmsley. Trouble originally inherited $12,000,000 but this was reduced to $2,000,000 at the request of the Trustee. Apparently,Trouble is able to make ends meet with the reduced inheritance.