Trusts For Pets
An Overview of Trusts for Pets
An honorary trust or pet trust, ensures that pets are provided care and maintenance after the owner’s death. This trust assures pet owners that their pets will have the utmost care for the duration of the pet’s life.
When creating a pet trust, something to consider is who will manage the trust? Who will care for the pet? How much will it cost to provide for the pet? What will happen to the remaining assets in the event of the pet’s death?
The trustee, whom the settlor or the court appoints, manages and ensures the funds from the trust are used for the pet’s benefit. The trustee may also have the authority to make alternate plans for the pet if the caretaker appointed in the trust is no longer capable of caring for the animal. Additionally, the trustee distributes funds to the caretaker, according to the instructions of the trust. Distribution can be in fixed increments or according to the trustee’s discretion. The pet is the sole beneficiary in a pet trust. The trustee ensures that the pet is well-cared for and verifies the pet is still alive.
Choosing a caretaker is extremely important when creating a pet trust. The pet’s caretaker is the person who will care for the pet and receive the funds from the trust for the pet’s benefit. It is best that the caregiver knows the pet and is familiar with the responsibilities of owning the pet. You should ask the person you may have in mind if they would like to be responsible for the pet’s care. A successor caretaker should also be named in the trust in case something happens to the original caregiver, or the caregiver can no longer care for the pet.
The cost to fund the trust varies depending upon the type of animal and the care provided to each pet. The trust should describe the style of the care supplied to the pet beneficiary in detail. This includes, but is not limited to, specific foods, grooming habits, and veterinary care. Additionally, the trust can outline how the caretaker shall proceed after the pet’s death. The funds should adequately cover the care and expenses of the pet beneficiary in the trust. However, if the court determines the amount in the trust substantially exceeds a reasonable amount to care for the animal, that amount will revert back to the estate.
Another consideration when creating a pet trust is whether the pets should stay together if there are more than one pet. Also, it is in the best interest to clearly identify the pets for which the trust is created. This can be done through photos, descriptions of markings, and microchips.
The pet trust terminates when the last surviving pet covered in the trust dies. If there are remaining assets in the trust, they shall be transferred to a remainder beneficiary as directed in the trust.
Most people consider their pets to be a member of their family. Creating a pet trust ensures that beloved pets will be provided for when the owner can no longer care for them.
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