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What should I include in a pet trust?

Best Trust Lawyer

If you would like to care for your pet and make sure their needs are met if you pass away unexpectedly, or become disabled, a trust lawyer can help you. We understand the importance of caring for loved ones, even if the loved one has four paws and a tail. (Or feathers.) It can bring enormous peace of mind knowing that your pet will be properly cared for even if you are not able to do this yourself. An ideal solution for many is to create a pet trust which a trust lawyer can do for you. Contact a law firm today to schedule an appointment to learn more.

What You Might Consider Including in Your Pet Trust

The majority of pet trusts are established with the intention of going into effect when the pet’s owner dies. It can also go into effect should the owner become incapacitated and is unable to care for their animal. A trust lawyer can work with you to determine what parameters you’d like to include such as if you become incapacitated but later recover, how the care of your pet should be managed and then possibly returned to you. Here are some additional things that you may wish to include in your pet trust:

  • Specify which pets should be included in the pet trust. Just as with other loved ones that you might set aside funds for in a will or other type of trust, you will need to name your animals. A physical description is also helpful. The trust will automatically terminate after your last surviving animal passes away. If they are bred after your passing and have offspring, those offspring will not be included in your trust.
  • Specify who should take care of which animals. You may only have one pet and your care notes for them are straightforward and easily taken care of by one guardian. Alternately, you may have several animals including large ones such as horses. Obviously, not everyone is capable of caring for certain types of animals and so you may need to specify more than one guardian and which animals should go to each.
    • Before choosing someone to be your beloved animal’s caregiver, ask them if they will be willing to take on this significant responsibility.
    • Choose a secondary guardian in the event your primary choice does not survive you or there is a conflict of some kind that makes them unavailable.
  • Specify how much money from your estate should be put aside for the animal’s care. If your intention is to cover all of the costs for your pet, you will need to consider their life expectancy, annual veterinary costs, emergency veterinary costs, food costs, and more. If the funds you put aside is an extraordinary amount of money, a family member may use that as the basis for contesting your trust in court. Very likely a judge might agree with them.
  • Specify care instructions. You might want to include the animal’s dietary instructions, a description of their favorite toys, sleeping preferences, etc.

To learn more about pet trusts and if they’re right for you, contact the best trust lawyer in Phoenix, AZ to schedule a free consultation.

Thanks to Kamper Estrada, LLP for their insight into estate planning and pet trusts.