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  • Writer's pictureNicole J. Zuvich

What is a pet trust and how does one work?

Updated: Sep 27, 2022

For many people, ensuring their pet will be cared for if something happens for them is important. One way to do that is to consider including a pet trust as part of an estate plan to ensure that the beloved pet will be cared for as the estate planner wishes should they pass.

What is a pet trust and how does it work?

In general, a trust is when property or assets are transferred by the estate planner to a fiduciary that will hold and manage the property for the benefit of a beneficiary. In the case of a pet trust, the beneficiary can be the estate planner’s pet.

A pet trust is a legal document and arrangement that provides for the care and maintenance of a companion animal or companion animal in the event of the estate planner’s death. Typically in a pet trust arrangement, the fiduciary, referred to as a trustee, will hold money to care for the companion animal or animals. The trustee will make regular payments using those funds to the pet’s caregiver. The trust will continue for the life of the pet. In some states the length of a pet trust is limited so it is beneficial to know the limits in the estate planner’s state.

Provided that the pet trust is properly set up, it is a legally enforceable arrangement that allows the estate plan to rest assured that directions concerning the care and maintenance of their pets are carried out after they are gone. There are many important considerations estate planners should take into account during the estate planning process. Included among them is how their pets will be cared for which is why they should be familiar with and consider including a pet trust in their estate plan and know how to properly set one up.

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