One of the best ways to plan for the care of your pet after you’ve died is by setting up a pet trust. Your pet trust will set aside funds to care for your animal and identify an individual who will serve as your animal’s caretaker. Creating a pet trust is not entirely straightforward, however, so it’s best when estate planners seek professional assistance when setting up this important legal document.
Here are the most important elements to consider when creating your pet trust:
— Clearly identify your pets via microchip, photographs, DNA samples or with visual characteristics. This will prevent the potential for fraud.
— Include a detailed description of how you want your pet to be cared for and its standard of living to be maintained after you’re gone.
— Name a trustee who is a different person from the beneficiary of the trust. The beneficiary will care for your animal, while the trustee will dispense the funds to the beneficiary. The trustee will also follow up to ensure that the beneficiary is caring for the animal in accordance with the trust.
— Require that the trustee inspect the beneficiary and your pet regularly.
— Decide how much money you’ll need for funding the pet trust. This amount should not exceed what your pet will require to meet the standard of living and care you’ve identified.
— Determine how the caregiver will receive the funds.
— Decide who will be the “remainder beneficiary” of the money left over after your pet has passed away.
— Identify how your pet’s final remains will be handled.
Our Colorado estate planning law firm can help you create a pet trust that protects the best interests of your animal after you’ve died. Contact us now to learn more about what a pet trust can do for you and your family.