Pets are important members of our family. They are our companions every day - and we want to make sure they are cared for if something happens. But how can you protect your pet within an estate plan?
One way is through a pet trust.
What is a pet trust?
By establishing a pet trust, you can provide for your pet’s care and maintenance after your death. It can encompass more than one animal and provides the resources and instructions necessary to care for your beloved companions.
Is a pet trust binding?
A pet trust is a legal way to protect your pet. In 2002, Florida made pet trusts enforceable, giving owners the opportunity to choose a caregiver and provide for their pet(s) in their estate planning.
How does it work?
You’ll name a person or entity to care for your pet, as well as a separate trustee to handle the financial assets of the trust. The funds will be used to care for any pets included, such as vet appointments and food. If multiple pets are named, the trust will remain in place until the death of the last surviving animal. Depending on how the trust is set up, any remaining funds are typically distributed to beneficiaries or a charity when the trust ends.
Is this my only option?
No. You can always make arrangements to give someone your pet. Depending on your particular situation a pet trust may or may not be needed. Whether it’s a pet trust or a simple bequest, it’s important to make sure you consider your pet’s future within your planning.
Want to learn more? Check out our Noon Show about pet trusts. If you are ready to discuss how to incorporate your pets into your estate planning, contact us for a free consultation. We’ll help you navigate what makes the most sense for your specific situation. All of our estate planning options include lifetime updates, allowing you to keep your plan updated and ready to meet your needs.