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  • Nicole J. Zuvich

What to include in a pet trust

Updated: Sep 27

For many of us, our pets are our family. For that reason, you may want to include a pet trust as part of your estate plan to ensure your beloved animal is cared for. You should understand how estate planning tools can help you accomplish the goal of setting up a pet trust and what you should include in your pet trust.

Beneficiary and trustee

To begin with, you should select a beneficiary for your pet trust. The beneficiary is not necessarily the pet but is the person you trust to act as caretaker for your pet. The named beneficiary could be a family member, friend or other trusted loved one. It is also a good idea to name a successor beneficiary in case your first choice is unable or unwilling to take part. Next you want to select a trustee who will be responsible for your pet’s finances and delegate the resources of the trust to the beneficiary for the care and benefit of your pet. You want this person to be someone you know to be responsible and capable of managing money.

Describe your pet’s needs

Following the selection of a beneficiary and a trustee, you need to describe in detail the needs of your pet and how you expect them to be cared for using the funds you have placed in the trust. This can include any special needs, veterinary visits, favorite toys or preferred food. Medical history and information should also be included and any arrangements for your pet’s cremation or burial when the time comes should be included.

Funding

You will also need to adequately fund the trust. You can provide a plan for funding distribution and can use the costs you spend on your pet annually to provide you with an estimation of the funds you should include.

Estate planning tools can be used for many purposes to help achieve the best estate plan for you. They can also be used to help set up a pet trust that is best for your furry companion and gives you peace of mind that they will be cared for.

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