In Perspectives

I’m sure you’ve heard the stories or have seen the headlines about the eccentric multi-millionaire that left their $13M fortune to their beloved cat Tommaso or the three Texas pups set to inherit $75M.  You may be asking, is this for real?  I assure you that, yes, this is real, and yes, leaving money for a pet is not as unusual as you may think – just not on the extreme levels as in the examples I cited.

There are two ways people leave money to their pets: (1) in a pet trust, or (2) through a specific gift to the pet in their personal living trust.  A pet trust is exactly what it sounds like – it is a trust established for an animal, and covers the terms of how the animal is to be cared for.  The pet trust can be funded during the lifetime of the person that created it, or upon their death.  The more common option is where a specific gift of money is called out as a gift to be made through a trust document.

The purpose is to provide for the care of a pet upon the death of the animal’s owners.  These trusts and gifts are actually fairly common in situations where a person does not have family or does not know of anyone that could care for his or her pets upon death.  The alternative, if no one can be found to take the furry friend upon the owner’s passing, is that the once beloved pet ends up at a shelter for abandoned animals; and if the animal is a bit older or has health problems, it can be a long time before it finds a home again.

Some people choose to be proactive in providing for the pet and they write them into their estate plan.  One such pampered pooch, Bella Mia, is “only” going to receive $1M of the family fortune, along with some jewelry and a vacation home (to put it in perspective, the family has much more wealth and the rest will be distributed amongst the family, with Bella Mia receiving a considerably smaller share).  The purpose is so that Bella Mia’s owners can rest assured knowing that she will be well cared for when they die – they think of her as a member of their family.

Most people choose to leave a specific gift in trust for the benefit of their pet, with instructions for who will take care of their pet.  Often times these gifts are a few thousand dollars, which is enough to cover food and veterinarian costs for the expected lifetime of the pet.  The trust can also state who will physically take care of the animal as well as name a separate person who would manage the money (in the cases where the gift is sizable or if a pet trust is established).

While it may sound crazy to leave your four legged friend millions of dollars, it’s not so crazy to think about your furry companion’s care once you are gone.  Many local estate planning attorneys can help you determine the best option for you and yours.

Legacy Trust and Your Right to Financial Privacy

At Legacy Trust we have established policies and practices that respect the financial privacy of all individuals who use our trust company. We believe it is critical to comply with the laws and regulations designed to secure your financial privacy. Your relationship with us as our client is very important to us, and we want you to understand our policies and practices about handling your information.

This Policy applies to you – This Policy applies to our relationships with individual clients who inquire about or obtain products or services from us for personal, family and household purposes.

Strict security measures – We take the security of information very seriously. We have established security standards and procedures to prevent access to client information. We maintain physical, electronic and procedural safeguards to guard client information.

Limited employee access – We have established procedures to limit employee access to information to only those employees with a business reason for accessing such information. We educate our employees about the importance of confidentiality and client privacy. We take appropriate disciplinary measures to enforce employee responsibilities regarding client information.

Why we collect information – We collect information about you to:

  • accurately identify you;
  • protect and administer your records, accounts and funds;
  • help us design or improve our products and services;
  • understand your financial needs;
  • save you time when you apply for new products and services; offer you quality products and services; and comply with certain laws and regulations;

We collect information – We collect and maintain your personal information so that we can provide investment management and other services to you. The types and categories of information that we collect and maintain about you include:

  • Information we receive from you to open an account or provide investment advice or other services to you (such as your home address, social security number, telephone, financial information and investment objectives).
  • Information that we generate to service your account or from our transactions with you (such as account statements and other financial information).
  • Information on your transactions with nonaffiliated third parties.

We have established procedures so that the financial information we collect is accurate, current and complete. We are committed to work with you to promptly correct any inaccurate information.

Our selective sharing of information – In order for us to provide investment management and other services to you, we do disclose your personal information in very limited instances, which include:

  • Disclosures to nonaffiliated companies as permitted by law, including those who help us service your account (such as providing account information to brokers and custodians).
  • Other limited disclosures as permitted by law, for example, required reports to government entities.

We do not share your information with third parties for marketing purposes. We do not sell your information.

Former clients – If you end your relationship with us, we will continue to adhere to the privacy policies and practices described in this notice.

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USA PATRIOT Act

Important Information About Procedures For Opening A New Account

To help the government fight the funding of terrorism and money laundering activities, Federal law requires all financial institutions to obtain, verify and record information that identifies each person who opens an account.

What this means for you: When you open an account, we will ask for your name, address, date of birth and other information that will allow us to identify you. We may also ask to see your driver’s license or other identifying documents.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause; however, federal law prohibits us from waiving these requirements.

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