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The use of a trust for pets

Estate planning can be a daunting task for Nevada residents. There are frequently many things to consider, including who should be a beneficiary, powers of attorney, life insurance and how to distribute assets among family and loved ones.

One issue that is often overlooked is the care of pets. Since the law treats domestic animals as property, there is little, if any, protection for a beloved family pet. If the owner fails to make arrangements for the pet's care, the animal may well end up in a shelter. This is why it is important for owners to develop a plan for their furry friends.

Two primary considerations are who will receive custody of the pet and whether any funds should be put into a trust for the pet's care. Establishing a trust for a pet can be a somewhat complicated process. The pet owner must determine the expected lifespan of the pet, and set aside funds for food, veterinary care and other expenses.

This sort of planning becomes even more important when someone has a pet that can live for many years. For example, parrots and other large birds can have lifespans that exceed that of humans. As such, an owner may have to set aside funds that will last for decades. This requires more work on the part of the trustee who must manage the funds so that they will continue to provide care for the bird until its own death.

Pet owners may benefit from speaking with an experienced attorney about trust planning. Legal counsel can review the client's financial circumstances and make recommendations regarding establishing a trust that will ensure that a family pet lives out the rest of its life in safety and dignity.

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