Tortoise-Estate Planning—One Chore of Having a Pet That Lives 100 Years

Estate responsibilities come in many forms; concern for children, concern for aging parents, concern for disabled relatives, concern for businesses and….concern for pets. While I have not dealt with too many tortoises, I have read Wills that leave funds for the care of pets such as dogs and cats. Having recently lost my mother, there was no question who would care for her dog, Tessa, upon her passing (edit: me, willingly!). When the heir is not as obvious, there must be direction in your Will or a separate trust document that appoints a guardian/trustee, sets aside funds for the costs of the pet’s care and provides specific directions as to what to do with any funds that are left over once the pet has passed away. These trusts can be costly to administer because they require special accounting. Furthermore, if the funds reserved for the pet are invested, testamentary trust income can be taxed at very high levels. When it comes to the care of a child or a disabled relative, most people would bite the bullet, pay the tax and secure their care. Would you do the same for a tortoise?

Tortoise Estate Planning—One Chore of Having a Pet That Lives 100 Years – WSJ

The unusual longevity of desert tortoises and a handful of other animals force owners to ponder their own mortality. “Walter” is one lucky beneficiary.

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