As an aging adult do you find that your friends and family have either passed away or busy with their lives? Do you enjoy the love of a pet or pets? Do you own a pet with a longer than average lifespan? Have you thought about what would happen to your beloved pet or pets when you pass away? If you have not, you may want to consider a pet trust to ensure your pet or pets are cared for after you have passed away. We would like to share three points to consider when contemplating the addition of a pet trust to your estate plan.
1. Selecting the right caregiver. Of course you know your pet best. By setting up your pet trust, you will be able to name the right person to care for your pet. Your adult child, though, may possibly feel it would be his or her responsibility to take your pet. However, you are aware that your adult child does not have the right conditions at home to do so. He or she may have very young children or already have pets of his or her own. Now you can make the choice yourself and by choosing a different friend or relative you can ease the pressure on your adult child.
2. You will be able to provide financial support for your pet. In most states, when you create a pet trust, you are permitted to instruct the trustee, the person in charge of handling the money in the trust, to make distributions to your pet’s caregiver on a monthly or annual basis. This can be done for either the remainder of your pet’s life or for 21 years, whichever is shorter. In some states, the cut-off is simply for the remainder of your pet’s life. This can be an important point if you have a less common type of pet, like a bird or lizard, who could live beyond 21 years after your death because their breed has a longer-than-average lifespan.
3. The comfort of your pet is important. Your pet may have special medical needs or personal preferences. In your pet trust, you are allowed to put as many specific instructions as you wish. For example, you can state that the pet needs to see a certain veterinarian, for as long as that person is practicing, or that the pet needs to be seen two, three, or four times a year. You can also leave funds for a more expensive brand of food if your pet needs that brand. This is important for many pet owners who want their companion to be comfortable after they are gone.
Our office is here for you and your loved ones. Our Stuart estate planning law firm takes a very different approach from what you might have come to expect. Our goal is to create lifelong relationships with each of our clients, to guide and manage your legacy for the rest of your life. Please contact our office to learn more.