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  • Nicole J. Zuvich

The importance of pet trusts

Updated: Sep 27

For many people, their pets are essential companions. Throughout a worldwide pandemic, many sought a dog, cat, or other animals to keep them company while sheltering at home. In turn, these creatures are dependent on their owners to provide care and comfort.

For many, the closeness to what they consider a family member motivates many owners to ensure that their pet will be cared for in the future should they become incapacitated or die. As part of an estate plan, pet trusts can provide peace of mind.

Ensuring that your pet is cared for

A pet trust is a legal document that ensures the care of one or more animals. The trust will provide ongoing and adequate financial support to a designated caregiver throughout the pet’s entire life. Even though they do not involve human beings, pet trusts are equally enforceable. Details can include preferred food and outdoor routine. Should the animal become sick or injured, specific instructions can be put into the trust for health care.

The trust can also help to ensure that your pet can be identified in the event of fraud. Pictures, microchips, and DNA samples will help protect the animal’s identity. Many owners also account for regular inspections by the trustee to ensure that the pet is cared for according to the owner’s wishes.

The trust can also provide instructions when the pet dies, including the choice of burial versus cremation. Any remaining money will necessitate designating a remainder beneficiary to receive those funds. In many cases, the individual chosen to care for the pet is the recipient.

Any aspect of estate planning requires proactive steps due to sudden changes in life. Having a skilled and experienced estate planning lawyer can provide you and your loved ones, four-legged or otherwise, peace of mind.

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