Pets are more than just animals; they're members of the family!
They’re given a place in holiday photos and included in car decals. Many pet owners take great care of their furry friends, even spoil them, and want to make sure their pets are taken care of should something happen to them. Did YOU know that all 50 states have a pet trust law?
What is a pet trust?
Pet trusts are arrangements that provide for the care and maintenance of one or more animals in the eventof the owner’s disability or death. These trusts hold assets in trust for the beneﬁt of the grantor’s (the person who created the trust) pets. Once the trust takes eﬀect, payments will be made to the designated caregiver on a regular basis.
The trust names a successor caretaker and can also include speciﬁc instructions for pet care – preferred foods, grooming instructions, medical care, etc. The trust will generally continue for the life of the pet (some states may have a maximum duration).
Why should I set one up?
Pet trusts provide owners with peace of mind. You can feel assured that your beloved animal friend will be taken care of by someone you appoint and that the caretaker will have speciﬁc instructions to follow. If your dog needs a daily walk in the park or if your cat is a picky eater, you can rest assured that they will be in good hands should something happen to you. Pet trusts also ensure that the care of your pet does not become a ﬁnancial burden on the chosen caretaker.
How do I create a trust?
Each state has diﬀerent laws regarding how Pet Trusts are enforced. It is important to speak with an estate attorney to ensure that your Pet Trust is set up in a way that is compatible with your wishes. Trusts can befunded with assets up front or by using life insurance, retirement accounts, or speciﬁc bequests in your Will. You will also have to choose an individual who will control the management of and ﬁle taxes for the trust.
If this is starting to sound like a great idea, make sure to speak with a Hefren-Tillotson ﬁnancial advisor todiscuss whether a pet trust is suitable for your speciﬁc ﬁnancial circumstances. Then, meet with a trusted attorney to ensure that the trust is set up appropriately.
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