If you’re creating an estate plan, you may want to consider using a trust. There are a lot of different ways that you can use trusts, such as creating a trust for an heir with special needs or setting up a trust to pay for a grandchild‘s college education in the future.
One option is to set up a pet trust. After all, some pets will outlive their owners by a significant amount. There are certain types of tortoises, for example, that can live to be 90 or 100 years old. Parrots, as another example, will often have a life expectancy of around 50 or 60 years, which may be roughly equal to their owner.
Regardless, even if you just have a dog that will only outlive you by a few years, you know that you want to make some sort of a plan. What can a pet trust do?
Assisting future caregivers
One thing that you’re going to do, if you realize that your pet is going to need a caretaker, is to choose that person first. You may just choose a friend or family member, for instance. Your pet is technically property, so you can simply leave it to them in the will, but you understand that a pet is not the same as leaving someone a television or a book collection. You want to find someone that you know will love the pet and give them a happy and healthy life if you’re not around to do so yourself.
The problem with this is that it can often be very expensive. Some pets need certain types of medicine that can cost thousands of dollars a year, they may need very specific food and there are a lot of different accessories that go along with them. Someone may be more than willing to care for your beloved pet, but they will just find it financially impossible to do so.
With a pet trust, you simply fund the trust with assets that you own, and then you give the trustee the ability to pay those caregivers. The exact amount of discretion that you want to give the trustee is up to you, but you at least know that that money has been set aside for your pet. You ensure that they have a good life and you assist the caregivers in providing it.
If you are interested in creating this type of a plan, take the time to look into the necessary legal steps.