Providing for Your Pet With a Trust

We all want the best for our furry friends, and the best way to ensure that they’ll be well taken care of is with a pet trust. Believe it or not, you can set up a trust specifically to provide for your pets – and you’ll likely be surprised how much you’re able to specify for the care of your favorite animals. And “pets” includes more than dogs or cats: they can be birds fish, horses, almost anything else.

How Does a Pet Trust Work?

Pet trusts, just like any other type of trust, have to be carefully drafted to eliminate the chances of any confusion or potential abuse. To start, you’ll specify what pets you’d like the trust to cover. This could include several pets, or just one. Importantly, your pet trust can only cover an animal that already exists in your care. You could not include potential descendants of your pets or pets that you don’t currently care for. 

Next, the most crucial step is designating a responsible caretaker. This person must be willing and able to take on the duty of caring for your pet(s), and an alternate caretaker should always be included so that if circumstances change by the time it comes for them to fulfill their responsibilities, someone else can step in. The caretaker you name will have the option of declining the responsibility, so it is imperative that you have a conversation with both your primary caretaker and their replacement to ensure that both are willing to do so when the time comes. You may compensate the caretaker, but at the same time you may want to include oversight by another party, so the compensation system isn’t abused. 

You will have to set aside an amount of money that you feel is appropriate to cover the costs of the rest of the pet’s life. Your caretaker cannot be expected to pay for their care, and so the amount you specify should be more than enough for all of their expenses, while not being unreasonable. If the amount specified is unreasonably high, the court may adjust it to a more reasonable amount, and distribute the remaining amount to other beneficiaries in your will. Similarly, you can specify what should happen to any remaining money after the pet’s death. Some people choose to give it to their primary beneficiaries, while others may choose to pay the caretaker for their service.

Finally, you’ll specify how your pet should be taken care of. This can include specific food that they prefer, veterinary instructions, or any other specific needs that need to be considered in order for them to live a comfortable life. For assistance in establishing your own pet trust, or any of your estate planning needs, contact us today via our website to schedule your consultation.

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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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