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pet-trustIf you are a pet owner, you know the unconditional love that our furry friends provide. The sheer joy we experience when they interact with us each day is a feeling that’s difficult to match. It is only natural to want our pets to be loved and cared for even if they outlive us.

What happens if my pet outlives me?

Pets are a wonderful source of companionship, a Pet Trust can help ensure they get a second loving home after we are gone. The owner can nominate a trusted friend, family member, or charitable organization who would be able and happy to continue taking care of a pet.

What is a Pet Trust?

A pet trust is an ideal solution, as it allows the grantor to set funds aside to care for the pet, direct the level of care wished for, and the person or persons entrusted with the responsibility of caring for the pet. Not unlike a regular revocable living trust, a pet trust is a legal document that instructs how any funds set aside should be used. The trust should detail the following:
  • A beneficiary (the pet)
  • A residuary beneficiary (if money is left over after pet dies)
  • A trustee to manage/distribute the funds
  • A caretaker to take care of the pets

What will the Pet Trust protect?

The trust can include details for the proper care of your pet, including any habits, preferences, and ongoing veterinary concerns, etc. The caretaker should follow the caretaker responsibilities listed in the trust. The funds in the account should be used for:
  • Food
  • Grooming
  • Annual veterinary checkups
  • Possible medications needed
  • Toys
  • Boarding
  • Arrangements for when the pet passes
  • Caretaker allowance for their time and dedication

What if I have a lot of pets?

If you own a farm, or have a large number of pets, you will need to ask yourself if it is in the best interest of the pets and the desired caretaker(s) to keep the pets together. If one person cannot properly care for all of the animals, you may want to choose multiple caretakers, consider a pet retirement home option, or become familiar with your local humane society or other animal rescue organizations.

What if my pet passes before funds are fully allocated?

In the event that the pet passes away while there are still funds available from the trust, you can dictate how these funds should be distributed. The people or charitable organization listed here are known as the residuary beneficiaries.

Can my pet trust be contested?

It is possible for family members to contest the trust and its distributions, however trusts generally are difficult to contest and in most cases, the amounts used to fund a pet trust are not a cause for disagreement. While there is no limit to the amount of funds a grantor put in the pet trust, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals advises that it is in the best interest of the family and the pet to leave a modest amount of money in the pet trust in order to ensure the pet is taken care of for the rest of its life.

Who can help set up my pet trust?

Ensure your loyal companions are taken care of for the rest of their lives. Our team of experienced estate planning lawyers can help you set up a comprehensive protection plan that meets your needs and desires. Contact us to set up your pet trust today.

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