What Does A Pet Trust Include?
Whether you have cats, dogs, horses, birds, turtles, or other pets, it’s possible that you have considered what may happen to them if you were no longer around. It may come as a relief to learn that as a dedicated pet owner, there is such a thing as a pet trust. This is a legal arrangement that will outline how you want the new owners to care for your beloved pets, and is recognized as legally binding in all states across the nation. Similar to wills and other trusts, every state is going to have nuances to consider when creating a pet trust.
Your next question may be, what exactly does a pet trust include? Well, a pet trust works similarly to a living trust. So you as a grantor, have the authority to instruct how you want assets to be handled on behalf of a pet through a trustee. What the trustee of a pet does is hold cash or assets just for the benefit of your beloved pet. The funds that you place into a pet trust will go towards their continued care, which can include but are certainly not limited to the following:
- Companionship care
- Exercise and enrichment items
- Routine veterinary check-ups
- Boarding expenses
- Grooming visits
- Food, medication, and treats
- Emergency veterinary care
Your pet trust can also include preferences for end-of-life care and treatments for your pet, in addition to their creation and burial arrangements. Depending on the state you reside in, there may be a cap on how long a pet trust can continue. For instance, some states enforce the rule that a pet trust can only be in effect for twenty one years. Your lawyer can help you understand the laws that apply for your state, and assist in the drafting of your pet estate plan so your future wishes for their care are set in place. What including your pet within your estate plan, there are some considerations that you will want to account for, such as:
- The names of those you choose to be the continued caregivers
- The current living standard that your pet has with you
- The level of care you expect the new caregiver to provide your pet
- The average life expectancy for your pet
- The date of activation that you want the pet trust to be in effect if you were to become incapacitated prior to death
- The chances of your pet developing health issues as he or she gets older
- Estimated costs to support the pet throughout the rest of their life while with the new caregiver
As your lawyer would suggest, like a trust lawyer from the Law Group of Iowa, if you’re thinking about putting your pet into an estate plan, then you’ll probably want to get some guidance along the way. Whether you have just one pet or a farm full of many species, as their owners, it’s important to consider them in your estate plan so their futures are covered too.