If you own a companion animal, you may wish to talk with an experienced attorney about pet trusts. Pet trusts allow you to provide for the care of a beloved pet after you have passed away and cannot be there to care for your animal any longer.
Unsworth LaPlante, PLLC can provide assistance in determining if you need a pet trust and can help you with the formal legal process of creating a trust that will provide for your animal’s needs.
Give us a call to find out how a Vermont estate planning lawyer can assist you with creating a stand-alone pet trust or with creating a pet trust as a part of a comprehensive estate plan that allows you to take care of everyone you love.
Why Should You Create a Pet Trust?
It is important to make plans for your companion animals in case something happens to you. A pet trust is a valuable legal tool that allows you to make such plans. The ASPCA provides an introduction to how pet trusts work so you can get an idea of whether creating this kind of trust is a good plan for you.
Essentially, pet trusts are created so you can continue to provide financially for your pet in case you pass away, and so you can make certain that the money you left for the care of your pet actually goes towards paying for the care of your pet. It can be very expensive to provide proper care for an animal and you do not want your pet to suffer from unmet needs, nor do you want to place a major financial burden on whomever takes care of your pet once you are no longer able to do so.
An animal cannot inherit directly and manage the funds, because animals are not capable of engaging in this type of behavior. While you could leave money in your will to whomever you believe will become the guardian of your pet, this does not provide enough protection for some animal owners because there is really no way to control what is done with the money after you are gone. A trust is a powerful legal tool that ensures your instructions are followed and trust assets are used to care for a pet.
How Do You Create Pet Trusts?
When you create a pet trust, you need to wok with a Vermont estate planning lawyer to create a legally valid and enforceable trust document that accomplishes your goal of caring for your pet. You will need to name a trustee as a part of the trust creation process. The trustee will be the person who is actually responsible for managing the assets in the trust and using the funds that you put into the trust to ensure that your pet is cared for.
You can provide detailed instructions in your trust document for when and how the funds should be used to care for your pet and for what will happen to any remaining balance in the trust once your pet has passed away. Many people will decide to give the remaining balance of their trust assets to an animal shelter or rescue group, but the choice is 100 percent yours. An experienced attorney will also assist you in properly funding the trust so it has the assets necessary to care for your pet.
You never know if and when something could happen to you, so you should not wait to create a pet trust. You should talk with an experienced attorney as soon as you get a pet so your animal is cared for, and you should keep your plans for your pets updated as your life changes or you acquire new animals.
Getting Help from A Vermont Estate Planning Lawyer
Unsworth LaPlante, PLLC can help pet owners to make detailed plans for the care of their pet, no matter what happens. You need to think of your animal’s needs in case you become incapacitated or in case you pass away. We have experience with pet trusts and other types of legal tools that you can use to provide for the animals that matter in your life.
To find out more about how creating a pet trust can be a part of your comprehensive estate planning process, give us a call at (802) 879-7133 or contact us online today. You can also download our free estate planning worksheet to discover more about the components of a comprehensive estate plan. Reach out today to talk with our legal team to get started on your plans.