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As anyone with a four-legged companion will tell you, dogs, cats and other pets are like family. While you cannot leave money to your pet when you die, you can include provisions in your estate planning documents designed to continue providing for your pets’ care.
Pet Trust provisions can be used to designate that, in the event of your incapacity or death, your named trustee would distribute funds to your pets’ caregiver(s) on a regular basis for the pet’s lifetime or for a pre-defined period of years. Rather than just having a verbal agreement with your designated caregiver, a Pet Trust creates a legally-enforceable obligation.
You can be as general – or as specific – as you’d like with the provisions inside the Trust. For example, you could simply provide assets to be used for your pets’ care or you could both provide assets and specific instructions about the type of food or the frequency of veterinarian visits you want your trustee to honor. Pet Trusts can also specify what you want to happen to your pet’s remains after its death (i.e. cremation or burial.)
If you fund a Trust designed to care for one or more pets, it is also important to designate a remainder beneficiary. This is the person or organization that will receive any remaining Trust assets when your pet dies or at the end of the Trust’s term.
Including pet trust provisions in your estate plan can provide peace of mind knowing your beloved pets will be cared for even if you’re not able to provide that care directly. If you’re interested in preparing a Pet Trust, work with a qualified estate planning attorney. Laws governing Pet Trusts differ from state-to-state, but your lawyer can help you craft a Pet Trust designed to comply with all applicable laws and regulations.
No matter what your estate planning requirements may be, we are here for you. We will carefully listen to you to create an estate plan that meets your wishes and needs. Our team of experts has the experience and ability to tailor a comprehensive estate plan for you. After a thorough review of your assets we will present you with various estate planning techniques that will suit your needs no matter what type of estate you have. Contact us today to get started!