An estimated 500,000 cats and dogs are sent to shelters and euthanized every year due to the death of their owners. Unless you have an effective plan for your pet’s welfare after you become too ill to care for them or pass away, their fates are left to the state, or family members who may not be looking to add a pet to their household.
What Is a Pet Trust & What Does It Cover?
A pet trust is much like any other legal trust in that it establishes how you would like your pet to be cared for after you pass away, become ill, or disabled. Every state in the U.S. has laws that govern the creation of pet trusts.
After you set up a pet trust and name a trustee, you have the authority to specify how you would like your pet to be handled. The trustee will hold the money or other assets for the benefit of your pets and will use these assets to care for the pet.
Pet care generally includes:
- veterinary check-ups & routine vaccinations;
- emergency veterinary care;
- grooming expenses; and
- boarding & feeding expenses.
How to Establish a Pet Trust
Similar to any other trust, the help of an estate planning attorney can ensure the trust is legally recognized. You need to identify a trustee and any other successor trustees, especially if your pet is expected to have a long lifespan.
When creating a pet trust, you should consider:
- your pet’s standard of living;
- the level of care you would like the caregiver to offer;
- who you would like to care for your pet, as well as successors;
- how often you would like the trustee to check on the caregiver (if they are different people);
- the pet’s life expectancy;
- likelihood the pet will develop serious health issues; and
- what will happen to any remaining funds once the pet has passed away.
To ensure your pet trust identifies your pet specifically (so no one can abuse funds), you should have your pet microchipped and record the number in the document. It is also wise to include pictures of the pet, as well as a physical description.
Don’t Leave Your Pet’s Future to Fate
Our attorneys can help shape your pet trust to cover every situation that may arise. We understand that some people view their pets as valuable members of their family and, as such, we will handle the document with the utmost care.
Contact our firm online or call us at (704) 659-0007 for your case evaluation.