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Why You Should Consider Creating a Pet Trust – AARP

It can also be set up as a pet trust within a larger trust like a drawer within a dresser. This type of trust does not kick in until death. These detailed plans prevent the kind of delays that are common in probate, but…….

It can also be set up as a pet trust within a larger trust like a drawer within a dresser. This type of trust does not kick in until death. These detailed plans prevent the kind of delays that are common in probate, but there can still be delays in accessing the money if the pet trust is getting a specific amount of money from the larger trust, says attorney Peggy Hoyt, author of All My Children Wear Fur Coats: How to Leave a Legacy for Your Pet. “You may have to wait until the administration of the trust is complete.”

Hoyt once had a client who had a pet trust written into his will, but it took five months to get it funded after his death. During that time, his cats were living in his home without a full-time caregiver. The neighbors and some friends went over to feed them out of the goodness of their hearts, but had the cats experienced some sort of health issue or emergency during that time, there would have been no resources to pay for their care.

With costlier animals like equines and birds that require more intensive care, this sort of delay in funding could be catastrophic. “The boarding barn could sell your horse to auction or, worse, just not take care of it,” Hoyt says.

Many estate planners suggest using a life insurance policy to cover the costs of pet care; however, for exotic animals that live a long time, such as parrots or tortoises, an endowment that invests its fund assets to earn money for the care of the pet is worth considering. “A 10-year-old parrot could easily live another 90 years,” says Gerry W. Beyer, an estate planning professor at the Texas Tech University School of Law. “You have to plan for a succession of caregivers and put more property into a trust that will earn money over time and won’t get depleted as opposed to the smaller amounts needed for a dog or cat.”

There are several online calculators to help pet owners estimate how much money they will need to leave for their specific pet. 

One of the most important aspects of designing one of these legal documents is ensuring someone trustworthy will be there to make sure the animal is being cared for, whether by a friend, family member, sanctuary or professional trustee. “It’s important to not only draw up, [saying] ‘Here’s this money and I want it to go here,’” Hoyt says. “You need to have someone you trust.”

One of the most important aspects of designing one of these legal documents is ensuring someone trustworthy will be there to make sure the animal is …….

Source: https://www.aarp.org/home-family/friends-family/info-2022/pet-estate-planning/

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