There are estate planning solutions that can be implemented to satisfy virtually any objective. You should certainly discuss your estate planning goals with a licensed estate planning attorney so that you can become apprised of your options and act in a fully informed manner.
With the above in mind, you should be aware of the fact that it is possible to provide for your pet in your estate plan. At one time, pet trusts were not legal at all, but eventually, some states started to adopt the concept. Now, pet trusts are available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
For your information, Minnesota was the last holdout, but they made it a clean sweep when they enacted their pet trust law in 2016.
Perfect for Seniors
You may read the above and say, okay, that’s great, but I’m definitely going to outlive my dog because of his limited life span compared to humans. While this is true for most people, there are those that have every reason to be concerned.
Many seniors would benefit from pet ownership, because loneliness can set in late in life. A pet can make a wonderful companion, and dogs can provide protection as well. Even if the animal is diminutive in size, the loud bark makes for a deterrent and a burglar alarm of sorts.
Owning a pet can also give a senior a renewed sense of purpose, and this is another positive. Plus, when you have a dog, you have to take your pet outside for walks if it is possible for you physically. This gives you a good reason to get some exercise yourself, and you will invariably get to know other dog owners at the park.
Experts say that there are psychological benefits that go along with pet ownership as well. Of course, when you are up there in years, you would naturally have longevity concerns that could impact your decision to get yourself a dog or a cat. These thoughts can be set aside if you make your pet the beneficiary of a pet trust.
In the trust declaration, you name a trustee after funding the rest. You can leave behind very specific instructions regarding the way that you want the pet be cared for if you do predecease the animal. For example, you could stipulate certain living arrangements, a feeding schedule, a schedule for treats, exercise, etc.
The trustee would be legally compelled to follow the instructions that you leave behind in the trust declaration, so you could be certain that the pet would be cared for in accordance with your wishes.
You do not have to worry about any assets that would be left in the trust after the death of your pet, because you could name a successor beneficiary to assume ownership of any remainder that may exist after the pet’s death.
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If you would like to discuss pet planning or any other estate planning matter with a licensed attorney, we would be more than glad to help. You can send us a message to request an appointment, and we can be reached by phone at 802-879-7133 in Vermont and 518-389-6020 in Albany.