Posted on: 29 April 2021
When you're creating or updating your estate plan with a probate attorney, you may want to leave assets to take care of your spouse, children, and other loved ones. What if you also want to make sure a beloved pet is taken care of after your death? An attorney can explain how to set up a pet trust for this purpose.
Benefits of a Pet Trust
Like other types of trusts, a pet trust lets you set aside assets for a specific use. You may have a beloved cat or dog who needs expensive and ongoing medical care; a pet trust lets you dedicate funds for this purpose to ensure that your pet gets taken care of even in the event of your death. If you have an expensive animal like a horse, tropical fish, or exotic birds, setting aside funds to maintain your pet's high standard of living may be even more important. An attorney can advise you on how to dedicate assets such as cash, dividends, or investments to provide for your pet.
What to Include in a Pet Trust
As an attorney can tell you, a will is only for distributing your property. If you want to provide detailed instructions for your pet's care, a pet trust is the right estate planning tool for this. Your pet trust can not only include money for food, vet bills, and other expenses, but you can provide detailed instructions such as the type of food and your pet's preferences for exercise and other care.
You should name a trustee to oversee responsibility for your pet's care and ensure that the funds are used properly. You can then name a guardian for your pet from among your loved ones or a reputable organization. Be sure to ask your estate planning attorney about how to choose a responsible person to name as trustee and guardian to ensure that your pet is well taken care of after your passing.
What If Your Other Heirs Dispute the Trust?
It's possible that after you pass away, your heirs will be unhappy that you've set aside money to provide for a pet. They might wish to dispute your decision during probate litigation. If you only left money to your pet in a will, this might be a problem, but a pet trust provides protection under the law. An attorney can help you structure a pet trust so that it stands up to any challenges during probate. You can rest easy knowing that your beloved cat, dog, or other animals will have a healthy life even after you're gone.Share