The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) reported in their Pet Ownership Statistics that about 71.5% of Americans own an animal companion. They see them as an important part of the family and sometimes, even more important than themselves. Many owners, however, aren’t aware what might happen to their companions in case they pass away or become physically unable to take care of them. This is where a pet trust comes in.
What is a Pet Trust?
A pet trust works when you leave a certain amount of money for your animal companion, which someone you put on charge can use to take care of their needs like food and veterinary visits. You have the power to set rules and instructions, so your loss won’t affect your pet drastically.
Law firms like The Baim Law Firm and information sites such as Nolo.com and AnimalLaw.info noted that pet trusts are valid as long as your animal companions are alive. All you need is to list and check the terms carefully, especially if they have a long lifespan—like parrots and horses. If the caretaker isn’t spending the money for its intended purpose, then anybody can report to the court and enforce the terms again.
How Does it Work?
The formation of a pet trust can take place when you’re still alive through an inter vivos (living trust) or when you die through trust provisions included in your will (testamentary trust). There are two types of pet trusts—traditional and statutory.
A traditional pet trust is when you assign a trustee to help the beneficiary—the person who will take care of your pet—by paying for the pet’s expenses according to your terms. This is effective in all states regardless if yours don’t have a pet trust statute. A statutory pet trust is a basic plan that doesn’t require you to leave terms for your pet, as the state law will fill in the gaps for you.
If you love your animal companions, you also have to plan for their future. Create a pet trust and decide which terms you should include to make sure your pet will still feel loved even when you’re gone.