Trust Planning

Trust Planning

Estate Planning and Wealth Management

Pet Trusts: Caring for Fido after You're Gone

Ashlea Ebeling
Forbes - Jan 13 2010
summary from:

What is a pet trust?

A pet trust is way to include your pet in your will. This ensures they will be cared for when you're gone. The famous hotel heiress Leona Helmsley left twelve million dollars to her dog, Trouble.

Are pet trust laws in effect everywhere?

Not everywhere, but close. Forty-two states, and the District of Colombia have pet trust laws.

What do I include in my pet will?

It can be as simple or as detailed as you like. Gerry Beyer, law professor at Texas Tech University School of Law, recommends creating a custom designed pet trust, where more than one pet trustee is listed. You can include details such as type of food, exercise, and how to breed your pet.

What is the best way to fund a pet trust?

A pet trust fund is cheapest when created in a will, versus when you're alive. However, when you die, your will may not be reviewed immediately, and the provisions in your will for your pet won't be in effect instantaneously. So it's good to have a back up, an emergency caregiver.

Is there an alternative to creating a pet trust fund?

Yes, you can avoid creating a pet trust fund and still care for your pet. Leaving the pet to a friend in your will is a way to by pass the pet trust. There are also a number pet programs that can house your pet permanently or find a foster parent.

Are there charitable remainder trusts for pets?

Pending federal tax law would allow the creation of a charitable remainder trust to support your pet during its life, with the remainder, upon your death, going to charity.