Pet Trust

Provide for your pets with detailed instructions of how they should be cared for.

What is a Pet Trust?

Apet trust is a means of providing for companion animals’ care after a person dies or becomes disabled. Cash or other property can be transferred to a pet trust either during a person’s life or at the time of the person’s death (these can also be funded by insurance). Like other trusts, pet trusts require a trustee(s).

Pets are usually named, however, these kinds of trusts can be written to work based on animals owned at a person’s death (even if those particular animals are not owned at the time the trust is written). When animals are named, they are usually listed on a schedule attached to the trust. In the document, all pets owned at death will be given to the Pet Trust, even if they are not specifically named on the schedule. This option allows people to include the names of the pets on a schedule that can be easily amended in the future, if desired.

At the termination of a pet trust, a person can specify how the assets will be distributed. Sometimes, people who create these kinds of trusts want assets left over to go to family members. In other cases, people want assets to go to charities. Either option, or a combination of the two, is easily accomplished with a trust.

Legally, pets are tangible personal property, but often a person wants to provide special instructions for pets and related items of tangible personal property, and typically also want to leave a cash gift to the recipient of the pets, to help defray the cost of maintaining the pet.

Unfortunately, there is no way to impose a legal obligation on the recipient of the pets to maintain and keep them other than by leaving them in trust. A trust to maintain pets must be carefully considered because it can be complicated to draft and if it is written poorly will be cumbersome to administer.

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