When you make an estate plan, you’re thinking about what’s best for your family and loved ones. Maybe you want your home to go to your spouse and your car to your child. You may pass away but you’re still leaving something behind for your heirs to cherish and remember you by.
However, while your heirs may benefit from your estate, you also have a furry, feathery or scaly friend to think about – after all, they’re just as much family to you as anyone else. So, what can you do for your pet to ensure they prosper after you pass away?
It’s important to make sure your pet is continually cared for after you pass away. One way you can do this is by making a pet trust in your estate plan. Here’s what you should know:
Defining a pet trust
Like a trust you would make for a beneficiary, a pet trust is a legal arrangement that ensures your pet is provided and maintained should you pass away or develop a disability. You, the granter, can assign a trustee to manage funds that are for your pet’s care. The trustee then allocated these funds put aside for your pet to the designated caregiver.
Because a pet trust is a legal agreement, just like any other document, the caregiver is required to follow the instructions exactly. In other words, a pet trust is legally binding. The caregiver should only use these funds for your pet’s needs if that’s what your trust specifies. For example, you may leave instructions that specify where your pets should be groomed, which vet they should see and what brand of food they should be given.
The caregiver should understand their responsibilities when caring for your pet. As such, it’s important to lay out your pet’s lifestyle when making a pet trust.