More than 600,000 pets are euthanized each year because their owners have not made arrangements for their care. Make sure this doesn't happen to your pets by creating a pet trust!
Did you know you can create a pet trust to care for your beloved pets? Most people have heard of living trusts and estate planning for humans, but you can also have a trust for your pets. A pet trust is a legally enforceable way to make sure that your pets are cared for. Many times, friends or family members have promised that they will look after your pet, but oftentimes, situations change and they may no longer be able to look after them. By setting up a pet trust, you are creating a legal document that hold someone responsible for caring for your pets.
When you create the pet trust, you set aside some funds that a trustee, someone you appoint, will use to care for your pets. You also appoint a caregiver, someone who will actually take in your pets and care for them according to your exact instructions. The trustee gives the caregiver funds to use for the pets and oversees that the caregiver is being responsible and following your instructions. Your care instructions can be as specific or general as you want. For example, you can tell the caregiver what kinds of toys to buy, how many times to take your pet to the vet, what kind of food to buy, and that they must keep all your pets together in the same house.
Most of the time, you will create the pet trust while you are alive and act as the trustee and caregiver designated in the trust. You must also fund your trust, by setting aside some money for the trust. In the trust, you will also designate successor trustees and caregivers to step into your shoes and care for your pets if you pass away. Your pet trust will be in existence for as long as your pets are living. Once they pass away, any money left will go to a "remainder beneficiary," often a charity that looks after animals (but you are free to decide who the money will go to).
Now that you know pet trusts do actually exist, be a responsible pet owner and make sure that your pets are cared for when you can no longer look after them. The process is fairly straightforward and is very affordable. Your pets are a part of your family, so make sure they will be cared for. Your pet trust can also be a part of your complete estate plan that you have for your family. Contact one of our
estate planning attorneys for a free consultation and to get started setting up a pet trust!