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Using Pet Trusts to Care for Your Furry Friends

Posted on in Estate Planning

Lombard estate planning attorneyThe ASPCA estimates that about 78 million dogs and 85.8 million cats are owned in the United States. For many people, their pet is a valued member of the family. They think of their pet not as a piece of property, but as a beloved companion. If you are one of these people, it is important to consider what will happen to your cherished pet when you are not around to care for it. A pet trust is an estate planning tool which can give you piece of mind that your pet will be looked after even if you cannot be the one to do so.

What Is a Pet Trust?

A trust is an arrangement that holds property or money for a beneficiary, often for when the creator of the trust passes away. Since a person cannot leave money or property directly to an animal, a pet trust legally enforceable arrangement regarding how your pet will be cared for in the event that you cannot care for it.

Unlike a simple instruction in a will, a pet trust provides protection for your pet and expedites the process of relocating the animal. Upon your death or disability, your companion will be cared for by an individual you have delegated in an environment that you have approved. Without such a trust, your furry friend may be an afterthought throughout probate—the legal process of validating a deceased person’s estate and will—which can take a considerable amount of time. According to the law, pets are considered property and will, therefore, be treated more like furniture than a family member in the absence of predetermined arrangements. A pet trust guarantees that your pet quickly ends up where you wish him or her to be without any additional hassle. The pet trust will dispense payments to your trustee and he or she will have the responsibility of caring for your pet. You can also choose the terms by which he or she does this job.

Who Should Get a Pet Trust?

You do not have to be a millionaire in order to benefit from establishing a pet trust. Celebrities who have left exorbitant amounts of money to their pets have given pet trusts somewhat of a ridiculous reputation. The reality is that a pet trust is a good idea for anyone that wants to ensure their pet is properly cared for in the future. Unfortunately, casual arrangements for pets can be forgotten or misunderstood. Those who said they would care for the pets can change their mind and your animal can end up at the pound. A pet trust may be your best choice for keeping your four-legged companions safe.

To learn more about pet trusts and their benefits, contact an experienced Lombard estate planning attorney. Call 630-426-0196 for a confidential consultation at A. Traub & Associates today.

 

Sources:

https://www.aspca.org/animal-homelessness/shelter-intake-and-surrender/pet-statistics

https://www.isba.org/sections/animallaw/newsletter/2010/06/pettrustbasics


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