Planning for Your Four-Legged Family Member’s Future with a Pet Trust

When going through the estate planning process, there are plenty of legal options for ensuring your estate is passed on just the way you want it. For a growing number of people, this can include a pet trust, which is the ideal option for ensuring the needs of your pets are met even after you pass away. This is a very compassionate option for ensuring the pets that provided you with comfort, companionship, and joy are not left uncared for after you pass.

Points to be Covered in a Pet Trust

Much like any other trust, a pet trust allows you to put a set amount of money (or other assets) into the trust so that it will be used specifically for providing the designated care needed for the pets. When creating a pet trust, you must name the caretaker of your animal. This will typically be a friend or family member who has agreed to take on the responsibility of caring for a new pet.

Pet trusts can be made to care specifically for the pets that you had while you were living. While this is most commonly going to be cats, dogs, or birds, it can include virtually any type of animal. Pet trusts are not typically able to go on indefinitely, but just until the last of your pets has died. This means that any babies your pets have after you pass away won’t be able to be covered by the trust.

Pet Trusts Can Receive Reasonable Amounts of Money

When creating a pet trust, you can fund it with a reasonable amount of money based on the type of animal you have, the animal’s age, and their health. While you can technically put as much money as you would like, very high amounts are easily challenged in the courts. Working with an attorney to determine how much money is appropriate is a good way to avoid issues after your death.

Detailed Instructions

Since your pets can’t make their own decisions regarding the type of care they need, it is important that a pet trust includes detailed instructions. This would include your wishes on simple things like what type of food your pet likes, to something more complicated like what type of medical procedures the trust should pay for.

How to Use Excess Money in a Pet Trust

When done properly, a pet trust will have enough money in it to care for your pets until they pass away. In most cases, there will be at least some money left over in the trust. You need to designate what happens to this money once the pets die. Some common options are to have it go to the caretaker, go to some other family members, or go to a favorite charity. You can direct the money anywhere you wish, so make sure to have some options in mind.

Avoiding Legal Challenges

While pet trusts are becoming quite common, some family members can resent that money is set aside for a pet, so they may challenge the trust. Avoiding these types of legal challenges is typically quite easy as long as you have the pet trust created by an experienced estate planning attorney who can ensure everything has been handled properly.

If you are interested in setting up a trust for your four-legged loved ones, please do not hesitate to give Legacy Planning Law Group a call today!

Written by Legacy Planning Law Group

Legacy Planning Law Group is dedicated to working with individuals and families to help protect the assets they have built throughout their life, and make everything simpler for families who have lost a loved one. We help thoughtful people achieve the peace of mind that comes with planning their personal legacy and passing on family harmony.