Comparing federal tax expenditures
Mileage tax deduction rates
for tax years 2010 and 2011

Pet trusts are now OK in Massachusetts

Rejoice Bay State pet owners! Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick on Friday, Jan. 7, signed legislation that authorizes the creation of a trust to provide for the care of one or more pets if the owner becomes disabled or dies.

The bill, An Act Relative to Trusts for the Care of Animals, will become law 90 days from the date the governor signed his name to the measure.

Every so often a crazy old rich person dies and leaves his or her (usually her) fortune to a dog or cat.

We all remember Leona Helmsley and Trouble. More recently, there was Gail Posner and her wig-wearing chihuahuas.

In both cases, family members contested the money that the wealthy women left to their pets. The big winners in these cases tend to be estate attorneys.

Supporters of the Massachusetts law say that it will ensure that a pet owner's decision about who will care for an animal is met. Currently, under state law, if money is left to a specified caretaker and that person does not use it for the pet, there is no legal recourse.

Pet trust proponents say the law also will help ease the financial burden on towns that often end up paying for food and shelter when pets are abandoned.

The Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals at least 43 states and the District of Columbia have enacted similar laws. Hey pet owners, let us know if your state is one of them.

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I almost forgot about Leona. $12M to her dog. At the 4% safe withdrawal rate, $12M can provide $500,000/yr in perpetuity. Enough to feed over 1000 people who would otherwise starve, all so one dog can be cared for. I'm not anti-dog, just anti-starving people.

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