The Power of a Pet Trust
The first full week of May is National Pet W eek! Our pets are vital members of our families, provide us with unconditional love, and are often our constant companions. There’s nothing quite like going for a walk around the neighborhood with your dog or taking a quick nap with your furry friends. There’s no doubt about it; we want our pets to live long, healthy, and happy lives, but what would happen to your pets if something happened to you? If this is something that concerns you, you should create a pet trust as part of your estate plan.
Pet trusts go into effect after the pet’s owner has passed away and cover a variety of scenarios to ensure your pet has everything they need to continue living a happy life. You start creating your pet trust document by determining which animals are covered. You have to explicitly name the pets included in your pet trust. Your trust ends after the last surviving pet passes away, which means you can’t include money for their offspring.
One of the most important parts of your pet trust is determining who will take care of your animals. You want to pick someone you know will keep your pets’ best interests in mind while following your wishes. Don’t just assume a sibling, spouse, or best friend will be okay with taking care of your animal. Ask them before naming them as the caretaker.
You’ll also need to determine how much money you need to leave for your pet. Figure out how much it will cost for their future vet expenses, food, and other necessities. Be sure to consider your pets’ ages and conditions. In addition to leaving money for their needs, you also need to provide the new caretaker with instructions on how to best care for your pet. It’s best practice to be as detailed as possible to ensure your pets’ needs are met.
As a final note, your pet trust will also determine what will be done with the leftover money should your pet pass away before the trust funds are fully utilized. You’ll even be able to name a caretaker if you become incapacitated and are unable to care for your furry friends. Reach out to us today if you’re interested in creating a pet trust as part of your estate plan!