In case a pet owner is no more or is unable to provide the required care to his/her pet, a PET TRUST ensures that there are funds available to care for the pets. It serves as an asset protection trust created by the pet owner over a period to ensure that the pets have cared in the same manner; they have been caring for them over the years. Pet Trust can also be defined as a legal arrangement specifying the way pets would be taken care of financially in the event its owner passes away or is unable to take care of them. Each state and District of Columbia have dedicated laws that govern the creation and usage of PET TRUSTS.
A pet trust appoints a caregiver or at least a backup caregiver to offer the care a pet needs. It can also appoint a trustee to ensure that the caregiver is performing his duties well. The trust protects money designated for the pet and keeps a check so it can last throughout their life. After the pet dies, the remaining money (if any) goes to charity or a member of the family. The Trust facilitates the pet owner to take care of the pet’s healthcare needs, dietary needs, exercise needs, veterinarian checkups, and cremation/burial plans for the pet.
Preparing a will is not enough because it does not guarantee their continued care. It is worth knowing that wills are specifically used for distributing property, and once the task is accomplished, there is no supervision. Therefore, even if a person has made provisions for his beloved pet, it does not mean that a person receiving the pet takes care of the pet properly. With Pet trust, it is a legal duty of the trustee to carry out the instructions of the pet owner.
Consider the given factors when you are deciding that a pet trust is a suitable option:
Similar to other trusts, an estate attorney can draft the pet trust document, identify the trustee and successor trustees. Consider some of these points while structuring the pet trust:
Like estate planning trusts, Pet trusts also have a grantor and a trustee. Typically, payments are made regularly to the designated caregiver. The trust continues throughout the pet’s life although some states are placing a cap of 21 years on the duration. This is important in the case of long-living pets such as parrots. The following information is necessary before drafting a pet trust.
The pet owner should decide whether the pet goes to a single person or multiple people. The selection of two caregivers is important in case the life circumstances changes. The grantor should discuss the terms with the trustees before finalizing the position. It is important to remain in touch with the potential trustees to remind them of their duties.
While choosing a trustee, it is important to select a person with a sound mind. A pet owner can also choose an institution or an organization such as a law office. Every state has a specific requirement, so it is essential to check the state laws. Review the job requirements and understand the cost. Selecting an alternate trustee is a better option even if a person chooses an organization as its first trustee.
The pets can be identified by class or licenses, photos, or microchips. For instance, “the pet owned at the time of incapacitation/death.”
Pet standard of care includes the frequency of grooming and vet visits, sleeping arrangements, food preferences and exercise schedules. It requires pet inspections by the trustee and also identifies an alternate caregiver.
The pet owner needs to determine the pet care cost and the cost of trust administering. Identify how the funds will be provided to the caregiver.
Consider termination of care medically when a pet faces any terminal illness. This decision of termination may be the joint decision of a vet, the caregiver, and the trustee. The pet owner should state how the pet should be handled after he dies.
It is essential to choose a remainder beneficiary whether a person or any organization in case the pet dies and money remains in the trust.
Trusts require an understanding of laws because an improperly formed trust may not have a legal effect leaving the pet in a critical situation after the owner is no more.