Sure, it made the rounds of the "News of the Weird" columns when a Nashville businessman left $5 million in a trust fund for his beloved border collie Lulu. But such gestures aren't as eccentric as you might think.
Many estate plan experts now include pet planning as part of the comprehensive services they offer.
("That takes care of your rare cockatoo and your thoroughbred racehorses. Now surely you'll want to upgrade to the premium plan and maintain your GUT BACTERIA in the manner to which they've become accustomed?")
Really, you're just dog-whistling past the graveyard and kicking the Alpo can down the road if you haven't contemplated your own mortality and the fate that could befall your pets once you're gone.
Will they be resented and mistreated by your heirs? Dumped at the animal shelter? Euthanized? Or worse, will their naps be ruined by unending robocalls about the extended warranty on your vehicle? ("MAYBE your master's grandchildren will let you hang your head out the window; but if the window should tragically refuse to lower... ")
ALL of us should be proactive about our pets' uncertain future. Sadly, not all of us will be able to leave a Lulu-sized tidy sum for our four-legged friends. Despite my affection for my pets, I anticipate cobbling together a decidedly UNKEMPT sum. Oh, I think I can spring for excavating my burial plot; but my cats may have to help with covering the casket. ("Wait... wait... I think there's still room for the hairball and the well-chewed robin.")
I'll at least have to stipulate that the executor ration care to make the money last. ("Yes, you may have a tummy rub, but I'm selling the static electricity to the power grid.")
Honestly, I don't begrudge anyone the financial resources for lavishly rewarding the loyalty of their fur babies. I do wish more of the affluent had the same compassion for the two-legged entities in their sphere of influence. ("Thanks for 45 years of service, Jones; but I'm shipping your job to Malaysia. Go fetch a new job, boy. Go fetch!")
Yes, much of the impetus for making long-term arrangements for dogs is their unconditional love and unswerving fidelity. Think of the stories of pitiable pooches who lingered for weeks or months near the spot where their master abandoned them. Come to think of it, instead of gold-plated toilet bowls, dogs' inheritances should include SELF-ESTEEM CLASSES and "Beware the Nigerian Prince's Widow" signs.
It's easier to leave funds for your pets when you have no human offspring; but that still doesn't mean there won't be great-nephews, mistresses and charities crawling out of the woodwork and initiating legal challenges when the will is read. ("I was always Uncle Calvin's favorite... I mean, I was always Uncle KEVIN'S favorite. I have fond memories of all the ... stuff... we did at... the place. Hey, it's bad enough a terrier is getting the inheritance; do we need that drug-sniffing dog here in the courtroom?")
Establishing a trust fund for your pets can give you priceless peace of mind. Rest assured that if you do precede them in death, they will be pleasantly shocked that you had the mental capacity to provide for them.
("Dude, the way he was always asking, 'Who's a good boy? Who's a good boy?' 20 or 30 times a day, I was sure he had advanced senility!")
Copyright 2021 Danny Tyree. Danny welcomes email responses at [email protected] and visits to his Facebook fan page "Tyree's Tyrades." Danny's weekly column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc. newspaper syndicate.