When setting up an estate to care for your loved ones, your friends and family and your favorite charities, don’t forget your pets. This is especially true if you have a pet that is likely to outlive you and you want to ensure they continue to receive a high standard of care. Both Utah and Nevada have laws that allow for the creation of pet trusts for animals that are alive during your lifetime. So while the trust can cover your pet dog, it can’t cover the dog’s puppies and ends when the dog in question dies.
Pet trusts are legal arrangements, much like regular trusts, where assets are added to the trust and a trustee is appointed to manage the assets. The pet is named as the beneficiary. These are commonly used for champion show animals, horses, long-lived birds, and other household pets that will need on-going care. When you adopt a pet, you take on the responsibility for it during its entire life, ensuring that it gets the medical treatment, food, living space, and love that it needs. A pet trust ensures that your pet will continue to get the care and treatment, at the level you prefer, for the rest of the pet’s life.
Rich & Famous Pets: After the death of fashion mogul Karl Lagerfeld, his cat Choupette became an heiress and joined the ranks of Gigoo the chicken, Gunther the German Shepard, and Tommassino the cat. (The chicken is worth $15 million….). These animals have full-time staff dedicated to ensuring they receive the care, companionship, and continued merchandising deals their owners started.
Pet trusts are legally enforceable, so you can be assured that the directions you leave to the trustee will be followed. This can include directions on housing, care, food, daily walks, vet visits, and any other particular details you would like honored. You will want to appoint a trustee, a successor trustee, a caregiver, a successor caregiver, and directions on what happens to the assets in the trust at the end of the pet’s life.
Setting up a pet trust also means providing the details needed to identify the pet in question. This could include identifying marks, papers, chip serial number. It is generally a good idea to discuss with the individuals to whom you are entrusting your pets to ensure they are willing and able to provide the level of desired care. Leaving a granddaughter a pet bird, for example, might be a lovely gesture and the parents might well appreciate the funds available to provide for the care and keeping of the pet even when the granddaughter is off at college.
At Dunn Law Firm, we strive to make sure your estate plan is comprehensive and includes all the details necessary to protect your pets. To learn more, reach out to the Dunn Law Firm by calling (435) 628-5405 to set up a free consultation today.