A pet is looked upon as property, so yes, you can bequeath your pet to an inheritor in your will. Of course, you should certainly make sure that the person that you have in mind is ready, willing, and able to take on the task.
No, animals are not allowed to own any type of property. However, if you leave your pet to a caretaker in your will, you could provide this individual with a bequest. You could stipulate that you want the money to be used to satisfy the pet’s needs.
Unfortunately, the inheritance would belong to the person, and at the end of the day, they could do whatever they wanted to do with the funds. In fact, this is an unpleasant thing to think about, but they would not even be legally compelled to care for the pet throughout its life.
Yes, it would be possible to establish a pet trust for the benefit of your fine furry friend. You would fund the trust and name a trustee to act as the administrator after you are gone. The trustee could be someone that you know, but there are professional fiduciaries that could be engaged to assume the role.
Of course, the pet would be the beneficiary of the trust. In the trust declaration, you would leave behind instructions with regard to the way that you want the animal to be cared for after you are gone. They can be general directions, or they can be very specific.
The trustee would in fact be legally bound to make sure that your instructions were carried out to the letter. It should be noted that the trustee would not necessarily have to serve as the caretaker for the pet.
If you don’t make an arrangement with a potential caretaker in advance, the trustee could be instructed to find one. Funds that have been conveyed into the trust could be used to pay a caretaker if necessary.
Calculating exactly how much will be necessary to care for the pet for the rest of its life can be an imperfect science. Fortunately, the matter is simplified when use a pet trust, because you can simply err to the side of excess. If there is anything left after the pet’s passing, it would be transferred to a successor beneficiary that you name in the trust agreement.
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As you can see, there is a perfect solution for elders who would like to enjoy the benefits of pet ownership late in their lives. If you would like to discuss pet planning or any other estate planning matter with a licensed estate planning attorney, we would be more than glad to help.
To schedule a consultation in the Charlotte, North Carolina area, give us a call at 704-944-3245. Our number in Kentucky is 606-324-5516 (Ashland, KY) or 859-372-6655 (Florence, KY), and you can send us a message if you would like to request a consultation appointment at either location.