Pets are important members of our family. They bring us joy and comfort and keep us company. As parents leave estates to their children, more and more people are including pets in their planning. While some may believe establishing a pet trust is extraordinary behavior (remembering that Leona Helmsley left $12 million to her beloved dog, Trouble), today arranging for the care of your pets after you pass is commonplace.
Pets, as smart as they are, will never be able to choose their caregiver or hold cash or property. A Pet Trust allows property to be held by a person (the trustee) to care for your pet for the life of your pet. The trustee follows the specifications that you choose.
Through establishing a trust, you choose your pet's new caregiver. The caregiver must feel comfortable with your pet and be willing and able to accept the responsibility. An alternate caregiver should be named to ensure the duties of this important role will always be fulfilled.
Instructions on care
Through the trust, you provide instructions as to the pet's food, daily activities and medical care.
To determine the amount to include in a pet trust requires reflection on the annual cost of care and the expected life expectancy of your pet.
Choosing burial or cremation for your pet can also be prearranged and instructions left in the trust.
A little preparation can give pet owners assurance that their furry, feathered or scaly companions are not forgotten, housed in a shelter or euthanized should they predecease them. Discuss whether this planning should be part of your trust with one of our Estate Planning Attorneys.