If you havenât noticed by the commercials and networks devoted to them, America has definitely become a pet nation. It is estimated that two-thirds of all American households own a cat or a dog. Â With some pets being considered cherished family members, pet owners are making provisions in their estate plans for their dogs and cats if something happens to the owner.
This may lead some to leave money to named executors and beneficiaries in the hopes that they will take care of their pets. However, a person receiving such money is always obligated to care for the pet. Â Because of this, a growing number of people are creating âpet trusts.â
Such a trust is designed and operated much like any other trust. A certain amount of money (or property) is specifically set aside that will be used for the care and benefit of the pet in the event the owner passes away or is no longer able to care for the pet. A trustee is designated to manage the trust in the petâs best interests, and is responsible for assigning a caretaker. In some circumstances, the trustee can also be named as the caretaker.
Unfortunately, pets usually do not outlive their owners, and they donât outlive their trustees either. This is why some pet trusts allow for money left over after the pet passes on to be donated to charities that care for homeless or abused animals. This also allows a person to continue their love of animals as a legacy that could be passed down to another generation.
If you have additional questions about pet trusts, an experienced attorney can assist you.Â