A pet owner is naturally concerned regarding what will become of his or her pets and their welfare after the owner’s death. Did you know, however, that the owner’s last will and testament can direct who will take possession of owner’s pets at his or her death? The owner’s will or revocable trust can also direct that the owner’s personal representative or trustee to distribute sufficient estate or trust funds to care for and support the pet after the owner’s death until the pets die.
Unfortunately, without planning for monitoring through a trust agreement, there may be no guarantee that the recipient of this money will actually expend the funds for the support of a deceased person’s pets. When planning for pets, a trust may be the best vehicle. It can be established during the owner’s lifetime to provide funds for the care of a deceased owners’ animals until they subsequently die. This is commonly referred to as a “pet trust.”
A pet trust authorized by statute in our state may be enforced by a person appointed in the terms of the trust or, if no person is appointed, by a person appointed by the circuit judge in times of conflict. Any person having an interest in the welfare of the animal may want to meet with an estate planning attorney to ensure that the trust is being enforced and that a person who is not performing his or her specified duties can be removed.
Bear in mind that the property distributed to the pet trust may be applied only for the intended use specified in the terms of the trust. This money is specifically being designated for your pet and should not be given to another person, including the trustee. Determining how you want your money managed and distributed at your death is just one of the reasons why we developed our Unique Self-Guided 19-Point Trust, Estate, & Asset Protection Legal Guide. You may download our tool from our website, or attend a complimentary workshop to lean where problems may exist in your planning as well as opportunities for improvement and how to implement a plan to protect not only your pets but your spouse, home, family, and life savings.