Pets are more than furry companions; they are part of the family. And just like other family members, more and more Americans are looking for ways to care for their pets after they pass away. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, there are 70 million pet dogs and 74 million pet cats in America. Should we have to abandon or put down our pets just because we pass away, or should we just assume that our children or a friend will take in our pets? We shouldn’t have to wonder what will happen to Fluffy or Spot, we can now plan for their care with a Pet Trust.

All across the country more and more states have passed laws that allow for Pet Trusts to be set up for the care of our beloved animals. In the Philadelphia area; Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and Delaware have all passed laws that grant pet owners the ability to choose a guardian for their pet, leave instructions for the care of that pet, and most importantly provide financial support for that pet. These Pet Trusts are enforceable by law, which will provide peace of mind for many owners.

A Pet Trust allows for a great deal of flexibility and specificity in its instructions. If your pet only likes a certain type of food, or requires daily walks in the park, or has specific veterinary needs, all these instructions can be included in the pet trust. A pet owner simply needs to provide their attorney the name and address of the guardian of the pet physically, a trustee to manage the financial aspects of the trust, instructions for the care of the pet, and the source of the finances to fill out the trust. The money in the trust will then be used to care for the pet’s food, bedding, toys, veterinary services, and other expenses for the life of the pet, including the pet’s burial or cremation expenses according to the pet owner’s instructions. Some pet owners include a small stipend for the person that cares for the animal, but this is not mandatory.

Once a pet trust is set up, that trust is in effect and valid during the pet owner’s life and after their death. The trust is also effective should the pet owner be incapacitated and is not able to take care of the pet themselves for a short time. Either way, the pet trust provides invaluable peace of mind and a sense of security to the loving pet owner.

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HighPoint Law Offices PC

At HighPoint Law Offices we support individuals, families, and businesses of all backgrounds with estate planning services that address their unique wishes, goals, and challenges.

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