Pet Trusts have become very common here on Cape Cod in the recent years but even more so nationally with the surge in pet ownership resulting from the impending COVID-19 pandemic. When the pet owner is no longer there, it’s crucial have a plan, especially when life can be unexpected, such as now. People often forget about planning for their pets but it’s very similar to a person’s trust. A typical Pet Trust includes a Trustee, a caretaker and a monitor to check on the pets well-being. Often the pets Veterinarian is nominated as the monitor. The cost to prepare a Pet Trust is minimal but offers great peace of mind. Attorney Jim Dillon says, “You’ can’t leave pets money, but you can make sure they’re loved and taken care of when you’re gone.”
Top 3 reasons to create a Pet Trust:
- Ensure your beloved pet has someone just like you to take them
- To plan and set aside funds to keep them happy, healthy and safe
- Alternate care is established if something happens to the person taking your pet
Recently a single woman in her late seventies with three schnauzers contacted me about preparing a pet trust. Fearing the coronavirus prompted her to enact a pet trust, something she’s wanted to do for a long time. She was mainly worried if something happens to her, what will happen to her 3 dogs. The hardest part was solved, she found someone she trusts willing to take all three dogs. It would have been more difficult to separate the pets, not only emotionally and physically but financially she would have had to set up individual trusts for each pet with a different caretaker. In this case we created the trust carefully identifying the daily care of the pets. We designated a trustee, a successor and alternate trustee. Locating a successor in the event the primary trustee is unable to care for the pets is highly recommended. We then coordinated with a financial advisor for how the trust would be funded. Pets have similar medical issues as humans, these can be costly and/or deadly without the right care and proper planning. The last thing my client wanted was to have her pets end up at the pound if the inevitable was avoidable. She now has her plan and peace of mind.
There are no guarantees, so you need a plan in place. The trust can outline what your pet’s needs, likes and dislikes are (i.e. food, exercise, unique issues affecting the pet, veterinarian services, grooming etc.). It’s also important to have local, legal counsel to ensure all aspects within the trust are appropriately created based on your State or in case the pets end up outside their domain.
One of the most common questions is ‘What can the funds be used for?’ You can’t buy a Mercedes to cart around the pooch (unless designated in the Trust), the funds must be used specifically for daily needs and care.
When a Pet Trust rises to the top of your list, contact Attorney Jim Dillon at 508-743-0259 for a no-fee, no obligation conversation.