Our pets are part of our family. They feel many of the same emotions we do: love, fear and even grief. It makes sense, then, that so many of us are looking to establish a pet trust to protect their beloved pets should we become unable to do so.
There are few ways to ensure your pet will be cared for in your absence. You have to remember, though, in a legal sense, pets are property, which is one more reason why making provisions for them in your estate plan helps ensure they’re anything but property.
Establish a Pet Trust
There are a few ways to cover the care of your pet, the easiest and most reliable being a pet trust. You name someone who will receive funds for the care of your pet. You can specificy checkups at certain times during the year, request certain pet food be purchased and fed to your beloved pet and much more. This is an affordable and simple option that’s straightforward and included as part of your estate plan.
Keep in mind, this needs to be separate from your last will and testament. It’s not always a sure-fire protection. The pet trust is a better protective mechanism because it’s specific to your pet, not to mention that a traditional will isn’t read immediately after a death. That leaves a block of time that could leave your pet vulnerable.
A Trust for Your Pet
A pet trust gives you room to be as specific as you choose while also providing plenty of time for revisions as time passes. You create the pet trust during your lifetime, which means it’s valid while you’re still living. A pet trust ensures no human family member will attempt to bypass or dispute any funds you’ve set aside for Fido to claim as their own. Your wishes are cemented in that legal document.
Many of our clients also take the opportunity to put into place what’s referred to as an “investment trustee”. This allows you to set aside funds for charitable uses or even animal research. A trust protector can be named to follow through on those types of options.
This is especially important if you must be admitted to the hospital or nursing home. It can help keep your pet safe and in many instances, you can keep your pet with you. With so many new studies showing the powerful benefits of pets that are allowed in nursing homes, many have provided accommodations for residents and their beloved sidekicks.
Remember, this doesn’t have to be a long, expensive and time consuming process. A trust can be compiled easily with the assistance of your estate planning lawyer. Be sure to speak with him about what options might be available to ensure the safety and well being of your pet after you’re gone. Our animals love us and they indeed grieve their losses as much as the other members of our family. This is one final kindness we can do for those who give so much.
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