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What is a pet trust – and do you need one?

On Behalf of | Sep 19, 2023 | Estate Planning |

An estate plan helps ensure you can provide for the loved ones you leave behind. However, what happens to your furry friends?

You cannot leave money or property to your pet like you would a person, even if they feel like just as much of a family member. But you can set aside funds for your pet’s care. That is precisely what a pet trust is for.

How does this trust work?

A pet trust allows you to:

  • Designate funds that do not exceed $40,000 for the pet’s care, including veterinary visits and daily needs, such as pet food and toys
  • Choose someone to be the trustee, who may also be the person who will care for the pet when you are no longer able to do so

You can also include particular instructions for the pet’s care. Remember, an estate plan – which may include  pet provisions  – is meant to reflect and protect your wishes. You can make customized arrangements for your pet, even if you cannot leave anything to animals directly.

Do you need a pet trust?

The answer to this question generally boils down to your personal choice. After all, you can address the matter of your pet’s future in your will. This generally involves choosing someone as a caretaker or guardian of your pet in your will. However, you cannot leave funds for your pet’s care using this tool. You will need to provide for that in your trust. Additionally, even if you have a verbal agreement with a family member or friend to take care of your pets should anything happen to you, it is always a good idea to get it in writing.

If you have a beloved pet that you wish to protect even after you are gone, it is a good idea to have a lawyer create a pet trust for you or add provisions in your trust for your furry friend. You can prepare for the future and protect all of your family – including the pets.