With dog being man’s best friend, it is important to take care of your best friend after your passing. This article not only applies to dogs but any type of pet. What happens to your pet after you pass away? Will your family really care for your pet after your passing? Will your pet have to go to the animal control and spend his or her days there for the rest of his life?
Despite your furry friend being a family member, in most states, your pet is considered your property as an estate planning lawyer Arlington TX relies on. Many state property codes allow pet owners to create trusts for the care of an animal. In trust world, a settlor is the person creating the pet trust. The settlor would have to take the property he or she desires and put it in the name of the trust created to care for the pet. Following are some things you should think about when considering a pet trust.
- The animal(s) must be living during the settlor’s lifetime. The trust terminates when the animal passes away, or if the trust is for more than one animal, then the last surviving animal.
- Pet Guardian. This is the person or entity that will ensure your pet is taken care of after your passing. If it is a person, you want to be sure it is someone you trust to take your pet to his/her veterinarian appointments, provide food and water, a home, and necessary all care.
- Trustee. You will have to designate a person or an entity in your trust document to ensure the pet guardian is being disbursed money each month to care for your pet. To avoid any issues with conflict of interest, it is advised to have two different individuals or entities for the roles of pet guardian and trustee.
- Upon passing of your pet(s), the trust will have to designate a person as beneficiary to receive your assets. You can also designate a charitable institute of your liking. If you do not specify a beneficiary to receive the property after the last surviving pet’s death, the property will pass to your heirs under the state law.
Now the question that arises is, does an animal really need a Trust? The answer is, it depends! Chances are, you will probably outlive your pet. However, there are some animals that have a long lifespan. Your kids or grandkids may promise you at this time that they will care for your pet after your passing, but there are circumstances that may come up that may prevent them from fulfilling their promise. They may be allergic or may not be able to afford your pet. In some situation, they may no longer want an animal. To ensure that your pet is taken care of by an entity or a person, it is advised to create a pet trust.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC for their insight into pet trusts.