According to a National Pet Owners Survey that was conducted last year, 67 percent of American households own a pet. This equates to 85 million, and these fine furry friends become beloved members of these families.
You can really get a good idea about the way that people feel about their pets through social media. There is a steady stream of amazing, heartwarming, and inspiring content that revolves around the actions of dogs, cats, rabbits. lizards, and other pets.
They are a blessing, and pet ownership is rewarding for people of all ages. Obviously, children adore their pets, and as a dog lover and an elder law firm, we recognize the value of pet ownership for senior citizens.
Many elders could use some companionship, and man’s best friend can certainly fill the bill. Longevity will sometimes be a source of concern for seniors that would like to adopt a pet, and this is understandable.
Fortunately, if you have that love in your heart, you can enjoy pet ownership secure in the knowledge that your best friend will be provided for properly if you predecease them.
Why Have a Pet Trust?
Have you ever gone on vacation or had a simple emergency and needed someone to take care of your pet in a pinch? I imagine that most pet owners have, like I have, sometimes had problems finding someone on short notice. The reason is simple. Although your pet is clearly amazing and lovable, and may be the center of your world, for other people it can be inconvenient to fit your pet into their schedule.
Now imagine who would take care of your pet if something tragic happened to you. You need to make sure that your pet receives all the care it is used to and that it does not become such a burden that it either bounces from new household to new household or, worse yet, ends up in an animal shelter.
The solution for your pet and your peace of mind is to make it easier on someone else to take care of your pet and you can do this by creating a pet trust that supplies a small amount of money for food, vet care, someone to take the pet for a walk, or any other service that would minimize the inconvenience to whoever will take care of your pet after you pass.
Let’s get serious, it’s a big worry whether anyone will ever love your pet and care for them the way you do.
You can make sure your pet is properly cared for by making it easier on the next caregiver and minimize the inconvenience to them with the simple solution of a pet trust.
What is a Pet Trust?
You can account for a pet in your estate plan if you establish a pet trust. There was a time when they were not universally recognized, but at this point, you can establish a trust for the benefit of an animal in all 50 states.
When you create the trust, you have to name a trustee that will act as the administrator of the trust after your passing. Any mentally competent adult that is willing to assume the role can technically act as the trustee of a pet trust, or any other type of trust for that matter.
The trustee does not necessarily have to be the individual that will actually care for the pet in a hands-on manner. In fact, some people use a professional fiduciary like a trust company or the trust department of a bank. If you go in this direction, there will be a professional money manager at the helm, and there will be inherent organizational oversight.
You can be very specific about the way that you want pet to be cared for after you are gone when you are drawing up the trust declaration. If you want to lay out an exercise schedule and specify the types of food and treats that should be purchased, you can do so.
A nice thing about a pet trust is the fact that you do not have to be overly concerned about the precise amount of money that you convey into it. When you create the trust, you name a successor beneficiary, and they would inherit assets that remain in the trust after the death of the pet.
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Need Help Now?
If you have already learned enough to know that it is time for you to work with a Staten Island estate planning lawyer to put a plan in place, we are here to help.
Each situation is different, and the ideal way to proceed will depend on the circumstances. Personalized attention is key, and this is what you will receive when you choose our firm.
You can set up an appointment right now if you call us at 332-456-0500, and you can use our contact form if you would rather send us a message.