Have you thought about what would happen to your pet in the event of your incapacitation or death? Who would take over its care? Without provisions for your pet in your living trust, in the short term, your pet could go days at home without food and water, and could feel panicked, distressed or abandoned. In the long term, your pet could end up with someone you don’t want them to end up with, or at a shelter where he or she could be euthanized. Contrary to popular belief, informal arrangements are generally not legally enforceable and simply adding your pet to your will often isn’t enough. Your pet will need care long before your will is probated, and wills offer no ongoing control or oversight for your pet, the caregiver, or funds left for your pet.
Including a pet trust in your estate plan can help to ensure that someone has access to your home and authorization to care for your pets in the short term, and can ensure that you decide who will ultimately care for your pets, and how they will be cared for, if you die or become incapacitated.
When you set up a pet trust, you name a trustee to care for your pet. The trustee holds cash or other assets for the benefit of your pets. Funds held in the trust are used to pay for the pet’s care and related expenses. These include veterinary check-ups and care, medications, feeding and boarding costs, and grooming costs. It allows you to leave very specific directions in regard to the care of your pet. For example, if your cat only likes a specific type of food, or if your dog likes to go to a certain dog park for daily exercise, this can be specified in a trust.
A pet trust also allows you to name successive caretakers in case your preferred caretaker becomes unable or unwilling to take care of your pet, for example, if he or she has a change in life circumstances.
You could also use a pet trust to specify end of life care treatment for pets, and any burial or cremation arrangements that you would prefer once your pet passes away. The trust will continue for the life of the pet, giving you peace of mind knowing that your pet will be well cared for through the remainder of its life.
If you are in need of a pet trust, or just want to know if a pet trust is right for you, please give Entrusted Estate and Asset Protection, P.C a call at 248-781-8338 to schedule a free consultation with one of our knowledgeable attorneys. Phone and Video consults are available. We’d love to help you protect your pets, and make sure they continue to receive the care they deserve after you’re gone.