Russ Cook & Associates, PC

Who will take care of my pet when I die?

For many people, a pet is more than just an animal. A pet can be a cherished friend and a beloved member of the family. But what would happen to your pet after you pass away? Would a family member adopt him, or would he end up in a shelter?

Because the legal system considers animals private property rather than family members, it is not possible to leave money directly to your pet. Fortunately, there is still a way for you to ensure your pet’s continued wellbeing after you are deceased: A pet trust.

What are pet trusts?

Pet trusts are an increasingly common part of estate planning that could come in handy if you have a companion animal of your own. A pet trust is a legal arrangement that provides for a pet’s ongoing care after their owner dies. Most regular trusts that are used in estate planning designate a trustee to manage a trust on behalf of a beneficiary. Pet trusts are similar in that they are managed by a trustee for the sake of a beneficiary—except, in a pet trust, the beneficiary is your furry friend.

Should I get a pet trust?

There are many benefits to having a pet trust as part of your estate plan. Many people mistakenly believe that if they set aside money for a pet in their will, their family members are required to care for the animal. This is not necessarily true. There is no way to ensure that your family members will follow your wishes regarding your pet. With a pet trust, however, the trustee is legally required to care for your pet as stipulated by the terms of the trust.

There are many attorneys who have experience in creating pet trusts. If you are invested in the long-term wellbeing of your furry friend, you may wish to sit down and have a pet trust drawn up today.

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