A statutory trust for the care of a pet will care for one designated pet or several pets. It is a legally enforceable document whose sole purpose is to insure that your pet receives the sort of care you would have provided had you not died or become disabled.
How it functions
First, you choose a trustee – the person(s) who will use the money or property you put in the trust for your pet’s benefit. Second, you choose a caregiver who will care for your pet using the funding from the trustee. The trustee will check periodically on your pet to make sure it is receiving the level of care specified in the trust instrument.
The right time to create a trust
The trust should be created during your lifetime. It can be funded as needed and can be supplemented by a bequest in your Will.
The best approach to funding a pet trust is to open a bank account in the trust’s name over which you, as the original trustee, have control during your lifetime, and which you can supplement as your financial circumstances allow. Also, the trust can be funded with virtually any asset you own. Some examples are naming the trust as a full or partial beneficiary of a life insurance policy, annuities or retirement accounts or pay on death bank accounts. You can also transfer real estate to the trust now or through your Will.
Calculating the amount to put in the trust
There are many factors to consider: (1) Whether this is for one pet or multiple pets. (2) The age of the pet(s), and the anticipated medical needs. (3) The increased medical insurance rates as the pet(s) ages. (4) The amount of money spent monthly on food, treats, dog parks and toys. (6) One or two weeks of boarding costs per year. 6) Burial or cremation expenses. (7) Payment to the trustee and/or the caregiver, if you choose?
Many attorneys recommend putting in twice the amount of money you feel will be needed.
Money left in the trust when the pet(s) die
You can and should designate in the trust the persons or organizations you want to receive the surplus. A good practice is to leave the remainder to one of the local animal rescue groups.
When a trust runs out of funds before your pet dies
If this occurs, you are dependent upon the caregiver. The trust should contain a provision naming a person or organization you want your pet to go when all else fails. Again, we recommend local rescue organizations that will try to place your pet in a permanent home or provide foster care for it.
How do I get a pet trust?
Contact The Kabb Law Firm at 216-991-5222 so that we can discuss how you can protect your pet’s future through an affordable pet trust.