Getting a Trust for Your Pet – Ensure their Wellbeing with LA Probate Law
Pet trusts are becoming more and more commonplace due to the love and concern Americans have for their pets. After all, pets are considered family members, and it only makes sense to provide for your family member in the event of your disability or death. A pet trust is a legal document that can be monitored by the courts and allows you to entrust money or property to a “trustee” who will be responsible for managing it and distributing it to your designated caregiver for the duration of your pet’s life. There are several steps involved in creating a pet trust–follow these steps and you’ll have your trust set up in no time. The purpose of a pet trust is to provide funds to pay for the pet’s care after the death of the trustor states LA Probate Law.
How does it work?
The trust can provide that a trust will be established for the care of the pet, and a specified amount of money will be used by the trustee for the care, feeding, and health care of the pet for the remainder of its life. The trust for the pet can be provided either through a will or through a living trust say LA Probate Law. Include the name and address of a designated trustee and a designated caregiver, as well as a successor trustee and successor caregiver who will take over in the event the primary trustee or caregiver can no longer fulfill their obligation to care for your pet. Positively identify your pet in order to prevent fraud with photos and a microchip. Describe your pet’s lifestyle, including exercise and play habits and specific care instructions such as what type of foods to feed him and how often. Specify any health problems and medications your dog requires, as well as how to administer the medication. Provide the name(s) of veterinarians that have treated your dog and require that the trustee ensures the caregiver provides regular veterinary checkups. Determine the amount of cash or assets needed to adequately cover the expenses for your pet’s care. Also specify how the funds should be distributed to the caregiver. Establish the amount of cash or assets needed to cover the administration of the pet trust. For instance, fees accrued by the trustee and attorney fees. Name a beneficiary to receive any remaining funds that are not used by the pet trust. Provide instructions on how to handle your pet’s remains.
Trustee for Your Pet
When a person sets up a pet trust, he must specify a trustee. The trustee is the person who manages the distribution of assets. It is the trustee’s job to ensure that the beneficiary uses the funds left in the trust to actually care for the animal. This can involve paying veterinary and other animal care expenses directly out of the trust or distributing the money to the pet’s new caregiver and then asking for an accounting of how the money was spent. It might also mean reviewing receipts from pet stores and vet bills to ensure that the full proceeds distributed from the pet trust are actually being used for the pet’s care. The individual who sets up the trust should also specify within it what is to be done with any money that is left over after the pet passes away. Many individuals will specify that any remaining funds are to be distributed to other heirs or to the pet’s caregiver explains LA Probate Law. Still others will stipulate that funds from the pet trust which remain after the pet passes away should be left to an animal charity of choice.
Find out if you live in a state that allows pet trusts. Many states do, but not all. Certain states allow what is known as an honorary pet trust, which permits pet owners to leave funds to a specific person, but without court oversight. California Probate Code section 15212 was revised in 2009 and authorizes trusts for pets. Alternative approach to lifetime care for pets would be to give the pet to a friend, and also give the friend a cash bequest. This would allow the trust to be closed prior to the death of the pet, but also has a risk because the friend would not be legally obligated to pay for the pet’s care. Planning for your dog’s care past your death is the ultimate in responsible ownership. Because only one out of five Americans has an up-to-date will and only 20 percent of those include provisions for pets, an estimated 500,000 dogs and cats are euthanized every year when their owners die and they have nowhere to go. Is your dog at risk? Wills, trusts, and financial instruments are complicated enough. Add caretakers, backup caretakers, specific instructions, and veterinary care. No wonder so many of us just hope we’ll outlive our pets. Funds for Fido can be as small as $5,000, experts said, with the typical pet trust financed at $20,000 to $100,000. Legal fees range from $39 for a do-it-yourself pet protection agreement to $2,500 for a complicated pet trust. Pet trusts are not just for the rich, LA Probate Law said. Of our clients who have pets, 75% have a pet trust. We insist they make some kind of arrangement. They are part of your family after all.