More families than ever before are taking into consideration the future of their pet’s lives too, and what would happen if their animals were to outlive them. For those who love their pets or livestock, animal trusts can be an essential component in ensuring that they get the care they require if the primary caregiver were to pass away before they do. Estate planning is a way to provide for the family, and most of us view our pets as part of our family unit. Trusts can be created so that money is set aside for a pet’s future care if their human is no longer here. A legal document like this is going to make a difference in the lives of those animals, especially ones that are long-lived, such as cats, horses, parrots, or tortoises.
Trusts avoid the process of probate, meaning that there is no delay in your pet getting their continued care right away. A trust also chooses a caregiver to provide a home, appoints a trustee to manage funds, and offers instructions for animal care. This information may entail details regarding the pet’s diet, medication, preferred veterinarian, routine vet visits, and more. As an estate planning lawyer from Theus Law Offices explains, here are examples of elements that may go into your pet trust:
- Description of your animal’s species and class, with specifics by name, photo, or microchip number.
- Details for the animal’s needs, medical attention, diet, and cleaning or other maintenance schedule.
- Itemized bloodlines for horses or prized livestock (valuing them properly can have an impact on the worth of an estate).
- Carefully appointed caregiver, ideally with others as backups who have agreed ahead of time to care for certain pets after your passing.
- Allocated funds to pay for pet’s care
- Where funds should go if money is left over after the animal passes away
- Preferences for the handling of your pet’s remains when they pass away
Establishing a pet trust is something to consider so that you can make sure pets are taken care of after your death. Similar to writing a trust for human beneficiaries, a pet trust provides for those furry, feathery, and scaly loved ones in your life. It holds assets, often cash, that the trustee can use so they can afford to care for the animals. The pet owner, or grantor, outlines instructions for how every pet should be taken care of by the named caregiver.
A pet trust can be helpful if you have one or more pets that need ongoing care if they outlive you, you are worried about not being able to support your pets if you become unexpectedly incapacitated from disability or illness, your pets require a kind of specialized attention or treatment, or you don’t want family members or caregivers to be monetarily burdened from taking care of your animals. Remember, you can plan for the future of your pets too, not just the humans in your life!