Many animal lovers worry what will happen to their pets when they pass away. By creating a pet trust with the assistance of an estate planning lawyer Bloomington, Illinois residents trust, you are able to leave money for the sole purpose of taking care of your pet. This will allow you to place someone in charge of managing and spending the money, by following a set of your written instructions. It used to be very uncommon for a state to allow a trust for an animal, however, now each state allows for a pet trust, even if there is no human beneficiary.
The Basics of a Pet Trust
Pet trusts are created to be used when the owner dies. The pet trust needs to specify the following information:
- The pets that are covered: You are able to create a trust to provide care for one or more pets that are alive during your life. The trust is no longer valid once the last animal dies. You are not able to create a pet trust to last indefinitely to take care of any offspring of your animals.
- Someone will need to be named to take care of the pets: Even if you do not create a trust, you will need to choose a caretaker to care for your pets, as that is the most important decision. This is someone who will take custody of your pets and will take care of them daily. It is important to ask whoever you want to become the caretaker that they are willing to take on this responsibility, even if they are your spouse, child, or best friend. It is also important to remember to name an alternate caregiver, in case your first choice cannot take care of your pet when the time comes.
- The amount of money that is to be used to take care of the animal: You will need to estimate how much the appointed caretaker will need to take care of your pets. The amount will vary greatly depending on how old your pet is and what their health situation is. If you were to set aside an unusually high amount, your family members could challenge it in court and the judge will, in most cases, reduce it.
- Instructions of care: You should provide very detailed instructions for your appointed caregiver. It makes sense to leave extremely detailed notes as the animals are not able to tell the caregiver what they need. Owners will usually note every detail from sleeping arrangements to favorite toys and food.
- What happens to funds left over after your pets die: If you have left more money than necessary to care for your pets, you will need to decide if the remaining funds will be donated or to family members.
- What should happen if you are unable to care for your pet before you die: A pet trust is able to put into effect before your death, if you were unable to care for your dog due to becoming incapacitated. The caregiver named in the trust could take custody immediately and be responsible for your pets if needed.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at Pioletti & Pioletti Attorneys at Law for the insight into estate planning and trusts.