Including a Pet Trust Within Your Estate Plan

Pets are a huge part of so many people’s lives. As such, many pet owners want to ensure that if they die or become incapacitated in any way, that their pets will be well taken care of. A pet trust, often including within the estate planning process, provides that peace of mind pet owners desire by allowing the pet owner to create and fund a trust for the benefit of a single or multiple pets.

pet trust

We get it. We understand how much pet owners love their furry companions. In fact, the attorneys at Eldreth Law are pet owners too. As such, we encourage our pet-owning estate planning clients to include a testamentary trust in their comprehensive estate plan. If this is something you're interested in, we can help you understand how a pet trust is structured and discuss the various details that are included in these planning tools.

Start With an Estate Plan

If you're contemplating the creation a Will or estate plan and you have pets that you want to be well taken care of upon your death, then including a pet trust within your estate plan is a wise decision. This will leave a distribution from your estate for the continued care of your trusted companions.

A testamentary trust, or pet trust, can be built into your will so that your will also becomes the trust document at the time it is needed, if it is needed. Essentially, this means that if the pet survives you, the trust can be put into effect.

Many times, the testamentary trust is used for the care of minors or adults with special needs, however, the testamentary trust will do the same for your beloved pets. Should the trust need to be put into effect, the Trustee you nominate will receive the distribution you have chosen to pass to you pets and use the funds for your pets’ continued care. On the surface, leaving an inheritance to Fluffy may seem silly or eccentric, but there is are valid reasons for having a pet trust as part of your estate planning.

A Testamentary Trust is Particularly Beneficial When Your Pet Require Special Care

The testamentary trust is especially beneficial when your pet requires special care or maintenance, such as horses or exotic pets. The care and maintenance can often be costly. Without leaving funds set aside for your pets, the burden of paying for the care of the pets falls on whomever adopts the pets.

For example, Margaret left a testamentary trust for the care of her dog. The dog suffered from diabetes and required insulin injections, a specialized diet, and regular visits to the vet. Margaret knew that without the pet trust there would be no guarantee that her best friend, a lovable cocker spaniel named Rusty, would continue to receive the care he needed to survive. Through her testamentary trust she left Rusty in the care of a close friend with enough funds to cover Rusty’s care for the rest of his life. Upon Margaret’s passing Rusty went to live with Margaret’s son. Rusty lived several more happy years thanks to Margaret’s planning and the pet trust.

Our pets are family. They enrich our lives and provide unconditional love. A testamentary trust for your pets allows you to return that same unconditional love care even after you are gone.

If you're interested in created a pet trust or to start the estate planning process, contact our estate lawyer in Raleigh, NC to schedule a consultation. If you don’t have an estate plan in place or haven’t reviewed yours in several years, now might be the best time to start. In addition to estate planning, our lawyer is here to help you with all your small business needs, trademarking, copyrighting, or other legal issues.

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