According to the Insurance Information Institute, there is a pet of some kind in more than 65 percent of American homes. Dogs are the most popular pets, and believe it or not, there is a canine companion in 63.4 million households in the United States.
Since dogs have relatively short lifespans as compared to humans, most dog owners do not have any concerns from an estate planning perspective. This make sense, and in most cases, there are multiple members of a given household that could care for a dog if it becomes necessary.
Unfortunately, everyone is not in that position, but there is a solution that can make pet ownership possible.
Lonely Senior Citizens
Many elders that are widowed experience loneliness, and the loss of a partner is not the only void. They no longer go to work so they do not interact with colleagues, and older family members and friends can pass away as well.
This is not just a less than ideal situation because isolation can cause depression and poses a serious mental health challenge.
A dog can change everything if you are a lonely senior, and it all starts with the companionship, which is invaluable. In addition to this, you have a renewed sense of purpose because you have a four-legged dependent in your home that relies on you for everything.
Dogs are entertaining, and you can’t help but smile when you witness some of their antics. They need walks so you have a reason to get outside and get some exercise yourself. This can lead to social interactions with other dog owners and people that like dogs.
It is a win-win situation all the way around. You experience better physical and emotional health, and you are giving a vulnerable animal a place to live and a whole lot of love.
Estate Planning Concerns
All of this is well and good, but when you are up there in years, you may have concerns about predeceasing your pet. This is perfectly justifiable, and it is important to be a responsible dog owner.
The good news is that there is an estate planning solution in the form of a pet trust. At first, they were not legal in all states, but they are now universally accepted in the United States.
When you establish a pet trust, you would name a trustee to act as the administrator after your passing. This could be the person who will actually care for your dog, but you can make an arrangement with someone else, or you can instruct the trustee to find a caretaker.
You fund the trust and you record instructions for the trustee to follow after your passing. The trustee would have a fiduciary duty to carry out these instructions, and you can be very specific with regard to the life that you envision for your dog.
It can be difficult to know how much to put into the trust since you do not know how long the dog will live. This should not be a cause for concern because you can fund the trust generously, and a successor beneficiary that you name would assume ownership of the remainder.
Attend a Free Webinar
We are holding a number of webinars in the near future, and you can learn a lot if you participate in one of these sessions. You can’t top the convenience, and there is no charge so this is an ideal opportunity to obtain a great deal of useful information.
To see the schedule, visit our webinar page and follow the simple instructions to register for the session that you would like to attend.
Schedule a Consultation Today!
If you are ready to establish an estate plan, whether it involves a pet trust or not, our doors are open.
You can schedule a consultation appointment at our office in Ashland, Kentucky if you call us at 606-324-5516. Our Florence, Kentucky office can be reached at 859-372-6655; and our Charlotte, North Carolina and Huntersville, North Carolina offices can be reached at 704-944-3245. You can also use our contact form if you would prefer to send us a message.
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