Pet Parents

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These days, pets are an integral part of the family. With more couples opting to adopt dogs and cats (and skipping human children altogether), more attention is being given to the care of these furry family members. This goes for future planning as well, which is where a pet trust comes in.

What Is A Pet Trust?

A pet trust is a legal arrangement that documents the financial care of your pet should you become ill, disabled, or pass away. It is a legally-binding trust the pet owner creates. Depending on which state the trust is set up in, the trust is good for the life of the pet, or 21 years, whichever comes first.

A pet trust can help cover expenses such as routine and emergency veterinary care, grooming, and boarding costs. Assets should also help with the day-to-day expenses, such as food, treats, toys, and bedding. A trust may also specify burial or cremation arrangements.

How Does A Pet Trust Work?

The pet owner is referred to as the grantor. The grantor names a trustee, the person who upholds the trust when the grantor is unable to do so. A designated caregiver is also named, in the event the grantor is no longer able to care for their pet.

Assets are allocated and held in the trust. If the grantor is unable to care for their pet, the assets held in the trust are made payable to the caregiver. How the assets are liquidated can be specified in the trust, but typically are paid out at regular intervals.

How To Set Up A Pet Trust

Find an attorney who specializes in estate planning. All but one state allows a pet trust, but the legalities vary from state to state. Some place a cap on how long the trust is good for, while others may specify small versus large animals.

Consider the details of the pet trust and what you wish to include. Things to consider are your pet’s current care, estimated costs and desired wishes for continuing care.