Planning for your pets; why a pet trust is a viable option

People often create wills or estate plans to provide for their children. But what about pets? What can individuals do to plan for the future care of their pet?

An estate plan can be a vital tool for everyone. It is a way individuals can plan ahead and make sure their wishes are carried out in the event they die or something happens to them. Parents, in particular, often create wills or estate plans to provide for their children.

But what about pets? For many people, pets are treated the same as children and part of the family. So what can individuals do, if they die, to make sure their pets are provided?

Leaving property to a pet

Under the law, pets do not have the legal capacity to own property. Therefore, people cannot leave property or money directly to a pet in a will like they can for children. However, in the event of death, there are options available for pet owners who want to plan ahead for the care of their pet.

A pet trust is one option.

Understanding a pet trust

In general terms, a trust is essentially a legal document whereby certain property is held in trust for a beneficiary. A trust also names an individual or organization, known as the trustee, who will be responsible for the trust and administer the stipulations provided for by the grantor (the individual creating the trust) within the trust document.

For a pet trust, the pet owner typically places money into a pet trust for the care and maintenance of the pet. The owner names a trustee who is in charge of using the funds within the trust to carry out the wishes stipulated in the pet trust document.

However, when creating a pet trust, owners should consider certain factors. The named trustee is one consideration. Whether it's a person or organization, it's important for grantors to name a trustee willing to take on the responsibility of what is outlined in the trust before it is created.

Seeking the help of an estate plan attorney

There are various types of trusts available that have different rules that pertain to different jurisdictions. Pet owners who wish to create a trust for a beloved pet are encouraged to consult with an experienced estate planning lawyer. An attorney knowledgeable in this area of law and the regulations can offer advice on the options that best fit individual circumstances.

Along with pet trusts, an estate planning lawyer can also provide guidance on many other important areas of estate planning as well.

Keywords: estate planning, pet trusts