As you’re doing your estate planning, you may want to think about your pet and what will happen to them if you pass away. Perhaps you’re young and you’re just worried about what would happen if you passed away unexpectedly. Or perhaps you have a pet that can live for decades, such as an umbrella cockatoo, and you know that it is likely going to outlive you, even if you reach your own life expectancy.
Either way, you just want to look out for your pet and ensure that they have the best possible life moving forward. A pet trust may help you do this. Here’s what you should know:
What does the pet trust to do?
A pet trust is a financial asset. You create a trust, and then you fund it with your own assets, either before you pass away or as part of your estate planning, with a trust that triggers as soon as you pass away. The trust then holds this money, rather than your estate, and it can only be used for specific purposes. For example, the pet trust will likely be used for things like paying vet bills, purchasing medicine, buying food and the like.
Ownership of the pet can still be complicated. You need to find someone who will care for it and who is willing to take on this responsibility, much as you would when looking for a guardian for your children. But the pet trust can make this easier because the person you choose knows that they are going to have financial assistance. All they are obligated to do is to care for your pet when you can no longer do so, but it’s not going to create any sort of financial hardship.
If you are interested in doing this, just be sure you know what legal steps will be necessary.