Comprehensive estate planning involves consideration of what will happen to all you own after your pass—including your pets. Creating a pet trust often is the best way to ensure the safety and comfort of your companion animals when you can no longer care for them.
At Anderson Estate Planning in McKinney, Texas, we are highly experienced with pet trusts. Contact us today at 469-207-1529 to learn more.
What Is a Pet Trust?
A pet trust is a legal arrangement that provides specific instructions for your pet’s care after you become incapacitated or pass away. A pet trust includes these three people:
- Grantor: The person who creates the trust
- Trustee: The person who controls the assets in the trust
- Designated caregiver: The person who will assume responsibility for the pet
In most pet trusts, the grantor sets aside funds the trustee will distribute to the designated caregiver for the pet’s care. The trustee and the caregiver can be the same person or two different people.
How Does a Pet Trust Work?
A pet trust is a written, legally enforceable document in which the trustee has a legal responsibility to follow and enforce the terms of the trust when the grantor can no longer care for their pet.
Pet trusts include instructions regarding the amount of money the trustee will pay to the caregiver at regular intervals. When determining the trust funds necessary to care for your pet, consider the following:
- The type and breed of pet
- Age and life expectancy
- Current lifestyle and routine
- Current costs of care
- Food (favorite food, dietary restrictions)
- Health (are there current health issues or anticipated age-related or breed-related issues)?
- Veterinary expenses (shots, checkups, emergency services, chipping)
- Toys and bedding
- Grooming (bath, haircut, manicure/pedicure)
- Training (obedience class)
- Boarding costs and pet sitting
- How are remains to be treated when your pet passes away (buried or cremated)?
- What happens to any remaining assets in the trust after your pet’s death?
Preparing Your Pet Trust
You will want to create your pet trust well in advance to ensure it contains all the details and instructions you want for the care of your companion animal when you are unable to provide that care yourself.
Your designated caregiver must be someone willing and able to care for your pet. Ideally, they should also be familiar with your pet and be prepared to provide the same love and dedication you do.
You also may want to select successor trustees and successor caregivers to assume those roles if the original people you named are unable to continue in those positions.
As part of your trust preparation, you also may want to identify your pet through a microchip or DNA sample to prevent fraud.
Why Should You Create a Pet Trust?
Many pet owners believe that simply asking a friend or family member to care for a pet after they pass is enough to ensure the comfort and safety of their companion animal. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.
When you pass away or become incapacitated, your pet may be the last thing on your family members’ minds. They may be more concerned with creating funeral arrangements, notifying family members, etc. Your pet may become lost in the chaos.
A pet trust is a legally binding arrangement that provides for your pet’s proper care. This arrangement also enables you to provide specific instructions for your pet, such as the type of food to give them and how often to take them for a vet check-up.
You know your pet better than anyone else. A pet’s new caregiver may not provide the same level of thoughtfulness and love you do. Creating a pet trust now can ensure that your pet has the happiest, most comfortable life possible after you pass.
Contact an Experienced Texas Pet Trust Attorney
At Anderson Estate Planning, we have the skills and experience necessary to help you create a detailed, comprehensive pet trust to provide for your animal companion’s well-being after you pass. Contact us today at 469-207-1529 to schedule a consultation.