Many Massachusetts residents would agree — some in jest and some quite seriously — that their pets are more important members of their family than their children. For this reason, a lot of estate planners ask their attorneys how they can make a plan to ensure their pets are well-taken care of when they’re gone.

Fortunately, estate planners have a lot of options when it comes to preparing for their pets’ care. One of those options is the creation of a “pet trust.” Here’s what you should know about a pet trust:

  • When it comes to estate planning for a pet, a trust is going to have a good chance of withstanding legal challenges by family members who don’t like your decision to leave money behind for your pets’ care.
  • Pet trusts can lay down very specific instructions, even down to giving favorite treats and how many walks your dog should receive per day.
  • Your pet trust goes into effect right after you die, but a will may take months before it goes into effect.
  • A pet trust can require regular inspections of your pet to audit how well the caregiver is following your instructions.
  • Your pet trust can also go into effect in the event of your incapacitation. It can even include a plan for your pet to move with you to a nursing home.

A pet trust is an excellent option when it comes to making a plan for your pet while organizing your estate documents. However, to ensure that your pet trust is followed and legally valid, you might want to consult with a skilled Massachusetts estate planning lawyer while developing a document like this.