What Does a Pet Trust Do?

Imagine if, after your death, the loved one who is caring for your pet has to face this choice: sacrificing money needed for feeding the family in order to pay for your pet’s emergency surgery or having your precious pet put to sleep. Either choice leads to guilt. Even worse, what if nobody steps up to take care of your pet in the event of your disability or death? More than 500,000 pets are orphaned every year when their human companions become disabled or die. Many of them are put to sleep because the pounds just can’t take care of them.

Leaving money for your pet’s care after your death, is not only wise, but a popular bequest to make. Our animals become members of our families and just as we would provide for our loved ones, our pets need provisions as well. You can, of course, leave your pet to a caregiver in your Will, but establishing a pet trust can do so much more.

A pet trust is enforceable in a court of law. Because a trust is a legal entity, the terms of the trust are enforceable by law. A trust sets up a system of checks and balances, and the trustee of the trust (not necessarily the same as the caregiver) will make reports to the court of the trust’s activity. Should the court find any misappropriations or questionable practices, it can step in and investigate.

A pet trust provides assurance of care should you become disabled or incompetent to continue caring for your pet. A Will is only active when you pass away, but a pet trust becomes active from the date you sign the document. Once you fund the trust, your pet is protected even if you should become ill for an extended period of time.

A pet trust can be very specific about your pet’s care. If you pet has an illness, you can require regularly scheduled visits to the vet. You can set forth what type of diet the pet must have. You can also stipulate whether your pet is kept indoors or outdoors, or even the times they are to be outdoors. You can also use the trust to stipulate how and where your pet should be buried when it dies. The trust is your voice when it comes to your pet’s care.

Making use of a pet trust ensures that your pet will continued to be cared for long after you pass away. For more information or to set up a pet trust, contact our office today.

Author Bio

Catherine Hammond is the CEO and founder of Hammond Law Group, a Colorado-based estate planning law firm she founded in 2005. With a strong focus on protecting families from the legal consequences of disability and death, she creates comprehensive estate plans that minimize taxes, costs, and government interference.

A native of Denver, Catherine completed her undergraduate studies at Coe College in Iowa, and her Juris Doctorate from the University of Denver College of Law in 1993, concentrating on estate planning, tax, and mediation. Catherine is a member of various professional organizations, including WealthCounsel, ElderCounsel, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, the Colorado Springs Estate Planning Council, and the Purposeful Planning Institute. Beyond her legal expertise, Catherine provides transformational coaching to support clients and their families through life transitions.

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