Thursday, August 21, 2014
Losing a pet can be just as difficult as losing a family member. While many people outlive their pets, there is also the possibility that a pet can outlive their owner. In this situation, many pet owners would want their pets well cared for. In a book entitled, Fat Cats and Lucky Dogs, written by Barry Seltzer and myself, pet owners are encouraged to plan ahead for their cherished companions while the owners are alive and competent.
Creating a pet trust is one method to provide for your pet. The pet trust can be established while the owner is living through an inter vivos trust or at death through a testamentary trust. The inter vivos trust takes effect instantaneously, and thus will be in place if the owner becomes mentally or physically unable to care for the pet. The testamentary trust goes into effect after the owner dies, but only after the will has been found valid in court.
The amount of money needed to fund a pet trust depends on the age, health, and life expectancy of the animal. Funds will need to be increased if expensive medical treatments are anticipated. Moreover, try to choose a caregiver who would be financially able to continue care if the pets trust funds are exhausted.
See Sandra W. Reed, Give Back to Animal Companions: Provide for Their Care, Your Glen Rose TX, Aug. 18, 2014.
Special thanks to Brian Cohan (Attorney at Law, Law Offices of Brian J. Cohan, P.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.