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Fat Cats & Lucky Dogs

Barry Seltzer & Gerry Beyer. Fat Cats & Lucky Dogs: How to Leave (some of) Your Estate to Your Pets. Prism Publishing. 2010. 249 Pages.

$39.35 from Amazon (click the book to order).


For many people, their pets are members of the family that need to be taken care of if the pet owner dies before the pet. Fat Cats & Lucky Dogs explains how to include a pet in an estate plan.

Billionaire hotel operator Leona Helmsley famously left $12 million in trust for her dog when she died. While the average pet owner doesn't have that much to leave, many do want to make sure their pets are provided for after they die. Written by two attorneys (one of whom is also a professor of law and a renowned expert on estate planning for pet owners), Fat Cats & Lucky Dogs details the various ways that pet owners can ensure their wishes regarding their pets are carried out.

The book explains that plans can range from informal, in which the pet owner asks a friend to care for the animal, to formal, in which a trust is formed to ensure the pet's care. Some states allow pet owners to establish "pet trusts," which are designed specifically for taking care of pets. The book also explains how to protect pets in a disaster or emergency, how to choose a caregiver, and how to determine the amount of money your pet will need, among other topics.

Fat Cats & Lucky Dogs has several appendices that are filled with useful resources for pet owners, including sample wording for wills and listings of after-death services and pet cemeteries. Peppered with facts about pets and funny quotes, Fat Cats & Lucky Dogs is a welcome publication for the nation's pets and a good, information-packed read for their human companions.