Setting up an estate plan for when you die can be extremely beneficial to the surviving members of your family. However, there might be an important family member you are forgetting. Animal owners often fail to consider, what happens to Fido when something happens to them?
Luckily for pet owners, pet trusts provide a legal plan for furry family members after their owners pass away. Like a traditional trust, a pet trust is a legal document that names your animal as a beneficiary to your estate. You will also need to name a trustee who will manage the money in the trust for the animal.
Important considerations in a pet trust include:
- Who will take care of the animal?
- Which animals does the trust cover?
- Are there caretaking instructions the new owner should be aware of?
- What will happen to the money in the trust when the animal dies?
- How often will the trustee check on the new owner?
Pet trusts are not just for the wealthy, but they were made famous by one celebrity in particular. In 2007, Leona Helmsley left $12 million dollars to her Maltese dog when she passed away. The dog continued to live lavishly for the next four years before being buried next Mrs. Helmsley as directed by the trust.
Pet trusts can provide owners a peace of mind knowing that their pet will be taken care of after they pass away. If you are considering a pet trust, it might be helpful to speak with an estate planning attorney to discuss a plan that is right for you and pet.