An estate plan helps you leave a lasting impression on the world even after your death. You can harness your personal resources to support someone you know, create a scholarship fund or contribute to a non-profit organization that aligns with your personal values.
Estate plans are also a means of providing for vulnerable family members. People often focus on children in their estate plans, but you should not forget about your companion animals. Like children, they are fully dependent on others for their basic needs and are very vulnerable during estate administration.
The creation of a pet trust could be a way for you to protect your pets if something happens to you.
What is a pet trust?
A trust is a legal entity created with written documents and funded with valuable personal property. The person creating a trust provides specific instructions for the trustee who will administer the trust regarding the distribution of their property and the goals of the trust itself.
A pet trust helps ensure that your animals have support and care until they die a natural death. Your pet trust can set aside resources to pay for veterinary costs and nutritional needs. You could even move your house into the trust so that your pet won’t have to learn a new house while simultaneously adjusting to a new caregiver.
Trusts reduce the likelihood of someone abusing or euthanizing the animal after assuming care over it because the person caring for the animal has to answer to the trustee. Trusts also give you an opportunity to name someone to receive the remaining assets in the trust after the pet that you created it for dies. You could potentially fund a pet trust with a specific bank account, real estate or even the proceeds from your life insurance policy.
The longer your pet will live, the more support they may require
The most common companion animals, cats and dogs, may only live a decade or two. However, some pets, like parrots and tortoises, could live for decades after an owner dies. A pet trust helps ensure that even the longest-living companion animals will have appropriate support when you are no longer there to love and care for them.
Exploring means of providing for your pets and other loved ones will lead to the best estate plan possible for your family.