According to the Humane Society of the United States, 39 percent of U.S. households have at least one dog and 33 percent have at least one cat. Together, we own more than 77 million dogs and 93 million cats! Then there are the 12 million birds and 7 million horses, together with our tropical fish, ferrets, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, lizards, snakes, turtles…you get the picture. We Americans really love our pets.
As a Jacksonville, Florida Estate Planning Lawyer, I frequently have clients ask about planning for their pets. Sure, there have been many jokes and stories about the dog or cat who inherits a fortune. The truth of the matter is that many people want to ensure that their pet is cared for if they become disabled or pass away. Considering how much like members of the family many pets become, this just makes sense. So, pet trusts and other estate planning tools are becoming more common as means to ensure that a beloved pet is cared for even if you are no longer able to care for the pet yourself.