Many people think of their pets as part of their family and they have an option to include them in their estate plan. This can ensure that their pet is taken care of if they are disabled or pass away.
A person, called a grantor, can create a pet trust which will provide for the pet’s needs. The trust can take effect when the grantor is living or after he or she passes away. With a pet trust, the trustee is responsible for managing the grantor’s assets for the pet’s benefit. Usually, the trust will be in place for the duration of the pet’s life.
The trust can include specific instructions such as how many times the pet should visit a veterinarian in a year, what the pet should be fed and what type of exercise it should have.
In addition, a pet trust isn’t limited to cats and dogs. It can also be put in place for horses, for example, and other animals with a longer lifespan.
In addition to basic information in the trust, the pet owner may want to consider additional items. This could include a detailed description of the pet, whether the pet is microchipped and registered, determining how much money is required for the pet’s reasonable expenses and provisions for the pet’s own passing, such as cremation or burial.
Also, the grantor may want to include a remainder beneficiary. This beneficiary would inherit any assets that are left if the trust funds are not used completely.
An experienced estate planning attorney can help pet owners decide what to include in their estate plan.