The Spayed Club has been able to help many animals through bequests made by generous, compassionate animal lovers.
What is a will? A will is a written legal document that controls the distribution of your property after your death. A will is your only guarantee that your estate will be distributed according to your wishes.
What happens without a will? Many people do not prepare a will, so unfortunately their estates are distributed according to a formula prescribed by state law. The laws are inflexible and make no exception for loved ones in unusual need. In some instances, assets go entirely to the state. You must have a will to be sure your desires are carried out. Nothing will be left to a charity unless your will specifically says so.
What is needed to make a will valid? In order for a will to be valid, its creator must be of legal age and of sound mind. The document must be signed and witnessed in a certain way, depending on the state in which you live. If you try to write your own will, it may not be valid, and then the state's formula for distribution of your assets will be used. A beneficiary – or the spouse of a beneficiary – should not be a witness. Many legal and technical formalities also must be followed. Anyone wishing to prepare a will should consult an attorney, and if you wish to make a gift to animals, the attorney must be knowledgeable about testamentary arrangements for the benefit of animals.
What is the role of an executor? The executor is a person or institution named by you in your will that is responsible for collecting the assets of your estate, paying your creditors, managing your property and distributing the property to the persons and charitable institutions named in your will. The executor could also oversee selection of someone to care for your pets. When an executor or trustee is charged with distributing large sums of money on behalf of animals, he or she should have a fundamental understanding of animal rights and welfare. It is a good idea to verify that the person you name as executor is willing to serve in that role.
How to benefit animals through your will. Bequests may be made to The Spayed Club to support its ongoing operations to solve pet overpopulation. You can specify use of your bequest "for cats," “for dogs," or leave it up to The Spayed Club. A bequest to The Spayed Club may be made in honor of another person or in memory of a much-loved animal.
You may choose to restrict your bequest to a specific purpose. You may choose to designate a specific dollar amount or specific property for The Spayed Club. Your attorney will discuss the possibilities available in order to help you achieve your objectives.
Sample wording for a bequest to The Spayed Club. "I give and bequeath [all the residue of my property, real and personal, wherever located] or [the sum of $___] to The Spayed Club, a Pennsylvania nonprofit corporation with an address in Oaks, Pennsylvania, to be used for the general purposes of The Spayed Club."
Other Ways to Give
Other creative gift arrangements for the benefit of animals are available, such as intervivos trusts and foundations. Many of these plans offer potential investment and tax advantages. With some foresight and consultation, a special gift can be designated to provide important security and peace of mind for the donor and members of his or her family concerning their own pets or homeless cats and dogs they care about.
There are many ways to create a lasting memorial that will help accomplish your charitable and financial goals. You should discuss your goals with your financial and legal advisors.
The above information is meant to provide general information only. It does not constitute legal advice, which can only be given by an attorney.
Please let us know if you designate a gift to The Spayed Club in your will, so that we can notify your executor if our address should change.