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Cocoa Gets Everything

By Jason Bottlinger on October 9, 2017

We provide you with the following hypothetical scenario…

Robert was nearing 80 years old. He recently had a health scare battling pneumonia and, as a result, figured his beloved brown poodle, appropriately named Cocoa, would outlive him. Robert had spent his working years running a successful auto parts franchise and was quite comfortable financially. He had lost touch with his only child, a son named Darren, and Cocoa was the most important individual in his world. After the near-death experience, he decided to contact his lawyer about including Cocoa in his will.

“There’s no one else in my life. I want to leave Cocoa everything,” Robert announced.

“Sorry, Robert, but I can’t do that,” replied the lawyer.

“What? Well fine. I’ll find a lawyer who can,” said Robert.

“No, you won’t.”

“What the heck did you say to me?” As a long-time businessman, Robert wasn’t accustomed to taking “no” for an answer.

“It’s not legally possible to leave property to your pet, which is itself property in the eyes of the law. You can’t leave property to property. You can’t leave your car to your house,” the lawyer clarified.

“Nonsense! Why, I just saw on Murder, She Wrote that there was a whole story about a millionaire leaving everything to the dog,” exclaimed Robert, his forehead getting red.

“I understand. Unfortunately, TV shows have led many to believe this notion that pets can be bequeathed an estate. It’s convenient for driving a plot,” the lawyer explained in a soothing tone.

Robert scratched his white beard. “TV is rotting our brains. I don’t like this one bit,” he muttered.

“Listen, Robert, there are some things you can do. Please sit back down….”

Robert sat down, cooling off a bit. “Okay. What can I do?”

“We can set up what’s called a pet trust. You dictate in your will or your trust who you would like Cocoa to go to after you pass, perhaps a person you know who loves her and would care for her, or there are several reputable non-profit organizations that take care of pets after their owners pass. Then the next step would be to estimate the amount of money that would be needed to take care of Cocoa so that she would be comfortable for the rest of her days.”

“Okay. Well, this is good,” Robert smiled. “Where do we start?”

If you are in a similar situation to Robert, you may be overwhelmed by the legalities of working your pet’s care into your will. At Bollinger Law, L.L.C., we can help you each step of the way to make sure your beloved pet is taken care of. (We also do wills for the benefit of people.) Give us a call at (402) 505-8234 for a free consultation.

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