A Legal Introduction to a Pet Trust Fund

Animal law has become a legal specialty in the past thirty years. While historically animals were purely “property,” a “rights” or “companionship” viewpoint is slowly developing. For example, a few states have enacted legislation or have judicial decisions allowing some financial recovery for owners beyond fair-market-value for the wrongful death of domesticated dogs and cats.

Read More
Effie Samios
Feathers Ruffled. Fur Flies. Lessons Learned From Ebola.

Feathers were ruffled and fur flew when the fate of the dogs owned by two women who contracted the Ebola virus was brought to public attention. In Spain, Excaliber, the dog who belonged to a health care worker who contracted the virus was euthanized despite protests by animal lovers who started a Twitter campaign #salvomosaexcaliber. U.S. officials were a bit more humane; they quarantined Bentley, the King Charles Spaniel belonging to Dallas health care worker Nina Pham.

Read More
Effie Samios
Providing for your pet after you are gone

You just love your darling pet and are sure everyone else does, too. How could they not? So if you were to pass away or no longer be able to care for your pet, a family member or friend would certainly give him or her a good home, right? Wrong unfortunately.

Read More
Effie Samios
Pet estate planning: It's easier than ever to include your pets in your estate plan

Some people leave bequests for their pets in wills. But that isn't always the best option because the purpose of a will is to distribute property, and instructions are unenforceable, according to the 2010 book "Petriarch: The Complete Guide to Financial and Legal Planning for a Pet's Continued Care." In other words, Jane might get the house and the cat, but there's nothing in the will that compels her to keep the house maintained or the cat fed.

Read More
Effie Samios