How to Establish a Pet Trust

How to Establish a Pet TrustWhile there are a number of different kinds of trusts, they all fall into two categories: Irrevocable trusts and revocable trusts.

An Irrevocable Trust is a trust that cannot be changed in any way. Before deciding on an irrevocable trust, you should be certain that you can abide by the terms of the trust forever. You should also be aware than an irrevocable trust can never, under any circumstances, be terminated.

A Revocable Trust is a trust that can be changed, at the full discretion of the grantor. Any desired changes must, however, be made through the trustee. A revocable trust can also be terminated at any time by the grantor, for any reason. This provides more flexibility for those who foresee changes that may become necessary to their trusts.

And trusts aren’t just for people anymore. Establishing trust funds for pets is a growing trend – which should be no surprise, since research shows that most Americans consider their pets to be part of the family.

The ASPCA offers some tips on establishing a pet trust:

  • Choose a trustee and be sure you have discussed the responsibilities in detail with them before putting them in your trust documentation.
  • If your primary trustee becomes unavailable, name a successor trustee for your pet trust.
  • If the person you name to carry out the provisions of your pet trust will not be the primary caregiver, you should designate both a primary and a successor caregiver for your pets.
  • To help prevent fraud, provide microchip ID numbers and photos of each pet named in the trust.
  • Detail your wishes for the care of each pet covered in the trust, including their nutritional and healthcare needs, how often they should visit the vet, etc.
  • Make a realistic determination of how much money is needed to care for your pet. Be sure to include the trust administration costs as well.
  • Choose a beneficiary who will receive any leftover funds after the last pet mentioned in the trust has died.
  • Provide burial or cremation instructions for your pet(s).

Both irrevocable and revocable trusts have their own unique advantages, so your best bet is to consult with an estate planning attorney for guidance.

The Estate, Trust & Elder Law Firm, P.L., provides attorney services to a range of clients from young families to advanced and crisis long-term care for seniors. Contact us for your free initial consultation at one of our conveniently located offices in Fort Pierce, Stuart, Port St. Lucie, Vero Beach, and Okeechobee.