Recently an Italian woman bequeathed all of her property, valued at approximately $2.5 million, to her beloved dog. The 84-year-old woman signed the will and had her lawyer attest to the document in order to ensure her dog receives the best of care if her pet should outlive her.
Technically, bequeathing property to a domestic animal has no legal force under Italian law. However, by assigning an individual or entity as the executor of their will, a person can ensure that the animal receives the rights to the valuables and is given a worthy life. In fact, in estate planning you can even lay out guidelines for the care and maintenance of your pet – getting as specific as you wish. As long as the funds are provided, the animal will be expected to be given that treatment by law.
In this case, the elderly Italian woman chose to list her attorney as the executor of her will, trusting him to make certain her dog was cared for accordingly. The choice this woman has made regarding her estate is especially surprising as she does have a daughter and several grandchildren. Most individuals choose to have the majority of their funds go to their children and grandchildren, even while still ensuring that their pets are cared for.
We do believe that each individual has the right to choose how their assets are distributed, even if it may not be in accordance with the popular opinion. While many would state that these assets should have gone to her child and grandchildren, the assets are hers to do with as she chooses. This is a reason that we strongly recommend living trusts – they allow each person the ability to plan as they choose and to know their wishes will be carried out accordingly.
If you would like to schedule a free consultation to speak with an estate planning attorney, contact MH today at 888.222.1328.
About Morris Hall:
At Morris Hall, we have focused our legal practice on estate planning for over 40 years. Along with estate planning, our attorneys help clients and their families with matters of probate, trust administration, wills, power of attorneys, business planning, succession planning, legacy planning, charitable gifting and other important legal aspects. We also have divisions in financial, real estate and accounting to help you incorporate all of your planning together, ensuring that everything works perfectly for your needs and situation. Our Arizona offices are located in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Cave Creek, Tucson, Prescott, Flagstaff and Arrowhead. Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!
This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.