For many people, a pet is a beloved member of the family. So it only makes sense to provide for all members of your family if something should happen to you. While it may seem morbid to think about, it is smart to plan for the future by the way of wills, trusts, and other estate planning documents. In fact, one such way to provide for your pet if he or she should outlive you is to create a pet trust.
Evidence shows that more and more pet owners are prioritizing the needs of their animal companions. In 2016, pet owners spent $66.75 billion on their pets, which is a record according to the American Pet Products Association. In light of this increasing priority, more and more pet owners are considering what they can do for their animal after their death.
A pet trust is exactly what it sounds like, a trust set up for your pet. By establishing a trust in their name, you can rest easy knowing the appointed caretaker will have the means through which to support your animal when you are no longer able to do so. After the pet owner passes away, the trust appoints the new caretaker, which can be an individual or an organization, with the responsibility for administering the trust. He or she will be able to make monetary distributions to pay for veterinary bills, food, shelter, toys, and any other necessities for the pet.
The trust can even provide a salary for the appointed caretaker, or it could set aside a property where the caretaker and animals are able to live. For those who are interested, the trust can also specify more sentimental requests. This may include directions for the new caretaker to keep some of the pet's favorite toys, blankets that smell like the previous owner, or the preferred schedule for exercise.
There are also a few alternative options to take care of your pet legally without providing it with a trust. Pet owners can also simply appoint a caretaker for their pet and provide him or her with a designated sum of money to use towards the care of the animal.
If you are interested in providing for your pet in your estate plan, our firm can help. Contact Flatiron Legal Advisors, LLC today to speak with our Boulder attorneys.