It looks like most of Leona Helmsley's $8 billion estate might go to different animal groups. She originally left a will naming her dog, Trouble, as beneficiary of $12 million and completely cutting out two grandkids, with the remaining amount to go to her charitable trust. But in June, poor Trouble's share got cut to $2 million and the disinherited grandkids got $6 million each.
So how DO you effectively provide for your pets in your estate plan? First, you cannot leave money to a pet in your will. One way to provide for a pet is to set up a Trust, whose purpose it is to look after the pet. It is smart to name both a Trustee, to manage the assets of the Trust, and a Caretaker, to actually care for the pet. These two can keep an eye on one another. As far as how much money to put in trust for the pet, consider how much you spend each year and what the pet's life expectancy is.