We’ve all heard stories about wealthy people leaving their fortunes in a special estate trust for their beloved pets but believe it or not – it’s not something that just the wealthy do. Oftentimes, pets become our children or family members, when our human family members tend to forget us in the hustle and bustle of their daily lives. It’s not uncommon to ensure that your pet is well looked after when you’re gone. The problem is that a pet cannot be a beneficiary. You would need to speak to a trust attorney to make a provision in your will for your pet, to ensure that they’re properly looked after.
Providing for Your Pets When You’re Gone
In many places pets are not seen as individuals, but rather as property and therefore they cannot be deemed a beneficiary of your estate. In a similar fashion to setting up a trust and a guardian for minors, you can do the same for your pets. When it comes to a minor, a trust is useful as it is an overall entity that oversees the wellbeing of your child. Most people wouldn’t give a minor $50,000, it would in all likelihood be spent on their whims instead of ensuring that they are properly clothed, fed and have a roof over their head. The same applies to pets, except pets can’t talk the way human children can.
There are various options you can take to ensure that your pets are adequately provided for after your passing. A trust attorney will be able to guide you through the process of creating a traditional trust or a pet trust.
With a traditional trust, you will appoint a caregiver for your pet and ensure that a trustee will manage the estate. Your trust attorney will ensure that everything on the document is worded correctly to ensure that your pet receives the appropriate care once you have passed away. You are able to decide exactly how much you’d like to bequeath to your pet’s trust but remember, if you do leave everything to your pet and the named caregiver, your family may dispute the contents of your will. While creating the trust, you should speak to your trust attorney about the best way to proceed should that happen.
You are able to leave basic instructions for the care of your pet in your will, including the amount of money you’d like to leave behind for the care of your pet. A court of law will appoint a guardian for your pet and to oversee the management of the money left behind. The disadvantage of a pet trust is that you can only leave basic instructions such as the amount of money you bequeath to your pet, and not necessarily detailed care instructions. Therefore, the appointed guardian will have free reign to care for your pet however they want to, even if it means neglecting your beloved pet.
When Should I Create a Trust for My Pet?
This is something you should speak to your attorney about. Estate planning is not something you should leave to the last minute, and depending on the life span of your pet, you should ensure that they are covered should anything happen to you.
Finding a trust attorney is no easy task, but if you’re unsure of the process regarding the creation of a trust for your beloved pet, let the friendly and reliable team at Gary I. Handin, P.A. help you. We’ll discuss the options you can take to ensure that your pet is provided for in the event of your passing.