With the new school year approaching and your child heading off to college, you've likely…
When planning for the future, protecting your family should always be a top priority, and this includes thinking about your beloved pets. Animals that grow alongside children and provide joy to families are in fact family members; the same can be said about assistance and companion animals that help people who live with disabilities. How would you like to see these special family members cared for when you are gone?
Pet planning is now a highly logical aspect of planning for the future, and it can be achieved through pet trusts. These legal instruments are part of the probate and trusts statutes in all 50 states, and they have become an essential aspect of estate planning. The goals of pet trusts may include:
- Transportation to another residence.
- Designating caretakers.
- Daily care.
- Veterinary care.
- Allocating estate funds for this purpose.
Pet trusts follow many of the provisions in the Uniform Trust Code, but some of them have been enacted or amended a bit differently by state legislatures. In essence, these trusts help pet owners in planning for the future by letting them become settlors and appoint trustees to manage funds intended to foster quality of life for their animals.
Just like a trust created for the purpose of protecting your family, a pet trust needs to be drafted in a manner that reflects your wishes and instructions for when you are no longer able to care for your pets. Such a situation does not have to be limited to passing away; the trust can also be crafted with provisions related to illness and disability. The terms during which these trusts are in effect generally conform to how long the animals will live.
The construction of pet trusts may vary according to your wishes, objectives, and jurisdiction. Even though these trusts are created in order to ensure the welfare of companion animals, pets are not the beneficiaries because they wouldn’t know what to do with the money. Trustees can be named beneficiaries, but they don’t necessarily need to be the direct caregivers; in fact, some situations may call for trust protectors tasked with making sure that trustees are carrying out the instructions as they should. If for some reason caregivers are not available, pet trusts may direct trustees to make shelter or sanctuary arrangements.
Protecting your family with proper estate planning requires you to think of every angle and cover all bases. Whether your family rescues a stray kitten or raises a puppy, chances are that loving feelings will develop, and this is why pet trusts are smart choices. We all want to outlive our dear pets and be with them until the end, but this may not always be possible. Pet trusts are constructive examples of caring for loved ones and trying to figure out how we can brighten their future.
Contact the Estate Planning Attorneys at the Law Firm of Christopher W. Dumm