I live alone and would like to ensure my pets are adequately cared for when I pass away. How is this accomplished?
For many, pets are considered to be (four-legged) members of the family, offering security, love and support. As such, it is not uncommon for owners to experience anxiety when making future arrangements, particularly if pets are still relatively young or extremely valuable.
A pet trust is a relatively simple estate planning tool that can ensure pets receive the care they need and are able to maintain their accustomed lifestyle in the event the owner passes away. Like any trust, the individual creating the agreement (known as the trustor) elects one or several trustees to manage a sum of money pursuant to the terms of the trust agreement. In a pet trust agreement, any of the following provisions may be appropriate:
- Identification of an individual or facility to house and care for the pet
- Specific care instructions
- Ways in which trust funds are to be used for the pet’s benefit
- Charitable donations to a facility or welfare group
- Medical care directives for the animal
In addition to the terms and directives of the agreement, the pet trust should include alternate plans in the event the named caretakers are unavailable or unwilling to house the animal when the time comes. Often, trustors direct that the animal’s trusted veterinarian make these decisions if no other custodian is available. Moreover, the pet trust should address the situation in which the pet predeceases the owner, and should include alternative directives for the placement of the pet trust funds.
If you are considering an estate plan and would like to discuss your options, please do not hesitate to contact Hutchings Barsamian Mandelcorn, LLP today: 781-431-2231.