Estate Planning Lawyers
Those of us who view our pets as family members are acutely aware of our duty to them as dependent creatures on us. It is imperative that we make plans for their life and comfort in the future, should we become incapable of caring for them due to incapacity or death. One of the ways that you can plan for this contingency is by establishing a pet trust. To help you choose if this may work for you or not, here are some guidelines that an estate planning lawyer may have you consider.
A pet trust is a sanctioned arrangement by law that offers care for one or more of your companion animals in the event of your death or disability. The grantor, who may also be referred to as a trustor or settlor, is the person who establishes the trust. The trust may take effect throughout the person’s lifetime, or upon their death. Usually, a trustee will hold property in the trust for the benefit of their pets. The chosen guardians will receive payment from the trust on a regular basis, so that the pets receive the food, medical attention, and comfort that they need to live the best life possible. The trust will continue for the lifespan of the animal, or 21 years, whichever arrives first. But certain states do permit a pet trust to continue for the full life of the animal, without regard for the 21 year maximum duration. This is especially advantageous for animals who have longer expectancies compared to cats and dogs, such as parrots and horses.
Pet trusts are enforceable legal documents, so pet owners can rest assured knowing that their instructions regarding their animals’ care will be carried out if the time comes to do so. A trust can include detailed preferences as well. For instance, if your dog only prefers a certain brand of food, or looks forward to visiting a local park on a routine basis, this can be written in the trust agreement. You can also specify if you want your animal to visit the veterinarian once or twice a year, or whatever is needed based on their age or diagnosis. During the pet owner’s life the trust is in effect, and in the event that the owner becomes incapacitated or dies, the chosen pet guardians will then take over care.
Many of us view our animals as more than just pets, they are members of our family who deserve to have their future considered in case we are unable to provide for them. A pet trust is a great way to obtain peace of mind that your chosen guardians will immediately take over care of your animal if you become unable to do so. But it’s important to remember that the laws for creating a pet trust will vary based on the state you live in. Getting help from a lawyer who is familiar with establishing pet trusts, similar to the Law Group of Iowa, is recommended. In this way, you ensure that the future of your dog, cat, or other beloved animal is taken care of if their life exceeds yours.