Many people consider their pets fur babies and pamper them with all the love they’d give a child. But what would happen to your pet if you were to die tomorrow? Who would take care of them, and would they be able to provide the quality of care that you would like ? A trust fund for pets may be worth considering.
Trust fund for pets
You want to ensure your pet(s) are provided for after you’re gone. A trust fund for pets is quite practical. You want your pet(s) properly taken care of, and given the love and protection they deserve. You can sleep easier knowing a plan is set.
Having a pet provision in a will or trust is slowly becoming more common. Right now, 23% of millennials take this into consideration, while only 14% of Baby Boomers over age 55 do (according to Rocket Lawyer’s survey for Make-a-Will Month). Millennials realize that you don’t have to be a senior citizen to suddenly need care for a pet.
There are checks and balances in a trust that help guarantee funds are being used for the proper care of your pets. Here are a few reasons for a pet trust:
Ensure proper care for your pet
Once we die, we can’t be sure of what will happen to our pets unless we put it in writing and make it legal. While wills are an efficient solution for managing many assets, they aren’t necessarily the best option for your pet. Wills are meant to designate ownership of property after death. What is done with the property by the inheritor isn’t enforceable by a will.
A pet trust is enforceable and therefore a better choice. Pet trusts are legal, binding documents. Setting up a trust fund for pets ensures your pet will be taken care of the way you wish after you die. Include specific instructions in the pet trust so your pets will be taken care of exactly as you wish.
Providing financial support
While it may seem strange to leave money to your pet (and technically, it’s impossible), you can provide financial support for your pet in the event of your death. A pet trust allows you to designate a trustee, along with instructions on how to manage the funds when it comes to caring for your pet.
When setting up a will funds are disbursed all at once. With a pet trust, funds can be disbursed in increments over the course of your pet’s life. This is especially important if your pet is younger, as the caregiver may not consider the fact that medical expenses may increase as your pet ages. With a trust money can be managed in a way that you feel best meets the needs of your pet as they age.
Avoid the consequences
As a pet owner, you can’t bear the thought of your pet ending up at a shelter when you die. However, unless you’ve specifically set up a pet trust and given full instructions of how they should be taken care of, you really can’t be sure this won’t happen.
There are some no-kill animal shelters which provide great care and services for abandoned pets, but it’s still a less than ideal home. Setting up a pet trust can help prevent your pet from ending up in a shelter.
Consider designating a caregiver who will provide for your pets like you did. When looking at your prospects, you should ask these questions as you check-off items on the funeral planning checklist:
- Do they already have pets? Do they get along with mine?
- Do they have young children, and will that be a good fit?
- Do they travel frequently?
- Do they have the time for vet visits, grooming appointments, etc.?
Once you’ve found the ideal caregiver, it’s also a good idea to have a back-up. Life is full of unexpected events—and some birds can live up to 100 years—so it will be worthwhile and comforting to have an additional caregiver lined up and to know your pet will be comfortable. Your back-up can also serve as temporary care—if your primary choice goes on vacation or becomes ill.
In addition to setting up a trust for your pet, it is recommended that you provide a Letter of Final Wishes. This letter often includes instructions on what should be done with the pet right after the owner dies, in addition to important medical information, such as preferred veterinary organizations, feeding schedules, etc. The more information you can leave for your pet’s new caretaker, the better.