Pet planning is a form of estate planning for pet owners. While most people will outlive their pets, older pet owners may have concerns.
Pet ownership can be very rewarding for senior citizens who feel a void in their lives. When you have a dog or a cat you have a lifelong companion that is relying on you. You may feel a renewed sense of purpose, and experts tell us that pet ownership is actually good for your health on a number of different levels.
Providing For Your Pet
There are a couple of different ways that you could provide for your pet in your estate plan. It would be possible to leave a direct inheritance to someone who has agreed to care for the animal. While this can sound like a simple solution, there are some potential difficulties that can arise if you go this route.
While you are certainly going to name a caretaker that you trust, there are no legal guarantees. You are leaving someone a direct inheritance. The caretaker could potentially mismanage the funds.
The longevity of the caretaker is another thing to take into consideration. Plus, it can be difficult to know exactly how much you should pass along for the care of the pet. Anything that is left after the death of the pet would stay with the caretaker.
You could overcome all of these difficulties through the creation of a pet trust. Our firm practices in North Carolina and Kentucky; both states allow you to create a pet trust.
When you create a pet trust you name a trustee. The trustee does not necessarily have to be the person that will be caring for the pet. Your trustee could be a person that you know, or you could use a professional fiduciary entity like a trust company or the trust department of a bank.
The trustee will follow the instructions that you record in the trust agreement. You can be very specific when you state your wishes regarding the care of the pet. You could potentially require a certain exercise program, you could stipulate dietary requirements, living conditions, veterinarian visits, etc.
The trustee has a legal obligation when you create a pet trust. The trustee must follow the instructions that are contained within the trust agreement.
You name a successor beneficiary when you are drawing up the trust agreement. After the death of the pet, the successor beneficiary would inherit anything that may be left in the trust.
Pet Planning Special Report
We have prepared a special report that takes an in-depth look at pet planning. This report is being offered free of charge, and you can access the download through this link: Pet Planning Special Report.