When people think of someone setting up a Trust for their pet, they might imagine Leona Helmsley’s pet Maltese named Trouble drinking Perrier from a crystal bowl in a lavish Manhattan penthouse. However, you don’t have to be rich and eccentric to set up a Pet Trust. Pet Trusts are most commonly set up by caring individuals who just want to make sure that their non-human family member is taken care of in the event of their death or disability.
Setting up a Pet Trust is as easy as 1-2-3 when you go to a qualified estate planning attorney who has experience with setting up such trusts. First, you need to decide who would be willing and able to provide the love and attention your pet deserves. Who will get your dog’s tail wagging or your cat purring? You should name this person as your pet’s caretaker.
Next, you need to consider how much money should be set aside for your pet’s future care. While Helmsley left $2 million to her dog, Trouble, your pet probably does not need to pay $100,000 a year for security and $8,000 a year for grooming. To calculate your pet’s needs, simply estimate the annual expenses for your pet’s food, grooming, medical care, and other needs and multiply that by your pet’s likely remaining lifespan. You may also want to include some money as a reward to the caretaker for taking on the responsibility of providing the love and attention necessary to provide a happy home for your orphaned pet. To ensure that your pet is the one being cared for you should include some images of your pet for the record. A record of their microchips and even some DNA samples would be a good thing to include, as well as plans for the burial of your pet once they too have passed on.
Finally, you need to consider who will manage and distribute the money you have set aside for your pet’s care. This person is the Trustee of the Pet Trust. The Trustee could be the same person who is providing the care for your pet, it could be another trusted friend or family member or it could be a professional Trustee or charity involved with caring for pets. If there is still money in the trust after the passing of the pet, you will also want to make sure you have a remainder beneficiary who can collect what money is left.
You plan for your human family, leaving them money and painstakingly considering Guardians, Trustees, and Executors. Your furry and feathered family members deserve consideration, too! Remember, without you planning for them in advance, they may face the same awful fate that awaits so many other orphaned pets. Contact an estate planning attorney from Morris Hall today to set up a Pet Trust for your special friend. You will sleep better knowing that they will continue purring or wagging their tail even if you’re no longer able to care for them.