More than a Pet. They are Family.

Those of us who think of our companion animals as family members want to ensure these dependent creatures have uninterrupted comfort and care should we become unable to care for them ourselves.   The best way to plan for this contingency is often a "pet trust."

So often animals are left behind without having been considered in estate planning. Pet trusts can guarantee that your wishes with regard to your beloved pet are carried out in your absence, with money set aside for their care and enjoyment of life. This can be particularly helpful if your pet has to be re-homed through a local animal shelter or rescue in the event that a friend or family member cannot commit to your pet's care.  Pet trusts can also guarantee that your pet will have the same life saving care that he or she would have had if you had been present. 

A pet trust is a legally enforceable arrangement providing for the care and maintenance of one or more companion animals in the event of a grantor's disability or death. The "grantor," who is also called a settlor or trustor, creates the trust, which may take place during his or her lifetime or at death.  A trust that takes effect during the life of the pet owner can provide instructions for the care of the animal(s) in the event the pet owner become incapacitated. 

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The trustee will hold property, typically cash, "in trust" for the benefit of the grantor's pets. Such a trust appoints a caretaker and creates a a monetary gift for the caregiver, conditioned on their continued care of the pet owner's animal in the event of the pet owner's death.  If the conditions are not met, the money in the trust will return to the pet owner's estate and will not be given to the caretaker. A trust can be very specific. For example, specific type of foods can be specific in the agreement as well as walk frequency, vet check ups, life saving care, etc.