Pet trusts can be part of a well put-together estate plan. Most American families have a pet, and it is enriching to have a dog or cat around the house. Children love their fine furry friends, and your pet becomes a part of your family.
When you are relatively young, if you pass away unexpectedly, other family members will be around to care for the family pet. However, some people that own pets are single, and under these circumstances, the animal is vulnerable.
Pet Trusts: The Basics
Back in the day, pet trusts were not widely recognized, but the landscape has changed over the years. At this point, every state in the union will recognize a trust that is established for the benefit of an animal.
When you establish a pet trust, you name a trustee to act as the administrator. Simply put, they would control the purse strings. They would have a fiduciary duty to follow your written instructions and ensure the well-being of the pet.
The trustee will typically not be the person that cares for the pet, because there is a system of checks and balances in place when you have a trustee and a caretaker. A trustee will distribute assets to the caretaker, and the resources will be used to benefit the animal.
Pet Trusts: Designating A Caretaker
It is important to discuss the matter with the person that you want to designate as the caretaker. You want to be absolutely certain that they are willing to assume the role, and you can provide information that they will need to care for the pet properly.
When you are drawing up the trust declaration, you should also name an alternate caretaker that would step in the primary caretaker is unavailable. Once again, you have to make sure that the person that you want to name is willing to accept the responsibility.
You do not have to be overly concerned about assets that may be left in the trust after the death of the pet. A human beneficiary that you name in the trust declaration will assume ownership of assets that may remain in the trust after the pet has crossed the rainbow bridge.
A Cure for Loneliness
Many senior citizens experience loneliness late in their lives after they lose their spouses along with some friends and family members. There is no adequate replacement, but a pet can definitely enhance the life of a lonely elder.
You have a renewed sense of purpose if you have an animal depending on you for everything, and the companionship is priceless. Pets are entertaining, and if you have a dog, you will be motivated to take your dog for walks, and you will get some exercise.
There is also a social element to dog ownership. When you are at the park or the dog park, you will invariably find yourself in conversations with other dog owners. This can help to alleviate the sense of isolation.
Clearly, longevity is going to be a source of concern for a senior that is considering the possibility of bringing a pet into their home. A pet trust can give someone that is in this position the ability to enjoy responsible pet ownership.
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