Did you know that an estimated 71.4 million U.S. households own at least one bird, fish, reptile, cat or dog? It cannot be denied that pets are our beloved companions in life.  Animals have played an important role in the lives of human beings since ancient times.  For example, just look at ancient Egyptian civilization. Different kinds of creatures were highly revered and perceived as representations of deities. A number of mummified cats and carefully wrapped dogs have even been found in Egyptian tombs buried along side their owners! Animals played a significant role in Greek Mythology and the concept of animal spirits that can be called upon for protection & help is evident in Native American cultures.

In today’s society, it is common practice to treat our furry friends as part of the family. And with family, we all know how important it is to make sure they are protected when we die. It is becoming increasingly popular in today’s culture to include pets in our South Florida estate plans through the creation of a Pet Trust. No one can demonstrate this better than real estate mogul Leona Helmsley and Florida heiress Gail Posner. Helmsley left millions in her pet trust fund so her precious Maltese poodle would be taken care of according to her wishes. Posner left $8.3 million Miami mansion and $3 million in her trust fund to her overly pampered Chihuahua. Florida law defines animals as personal property and like other such property are subject to the probate process. So even though Fluffy the cat may seem as part of the family, under the law, Fluffy is just considered akin to a car or piece of jewelry. Not taking Fluffy into account could mean he will end up in a shelter, put to sleep, or thrown out onto the street to fend for himself. For some peace of mind, creating a Pet Trust will ensure the easy transfer of the ownership of pets to make sure they are in good hands after you die. Or, you can follow the ancient Egyptian approach and just have Fluffy join you underground.

For more information on successful Florida estate planning and probate, please contact the South Florida law firm of Wild Felice & Pardo, P.A. at 954-944-2855 or via email at info@wfplaw.com to schedule your free consultation.

It’s a Wild world. Are you protected?