Creating a Trust for Your Pet

Pet Trusts

When people start setting up their estate plan, they might think about who they should name as executor and what they should leave their kids. They might not give as much thought about what to do with their pets when they’re gone. If you’re one of the many people who own a dog or cat, consider creating a trust for him or her. This way, you know your pet will be taken care of if you die suddenly. Here are some tips for setting up a pet trust.

Select a Beneficiary

One of the first things you should do is choose a beneficiary to take care of your pet after you’re gone. Looking after a cat or a dog is a big responsibility, so you shouldn’t select just anyone for the job. This person should genuinely like animals and have the time to give your pet the attention it deserves. Explain exactly what your pet needs and find out if the beneficiary can provide all of that. For example, if you have a Golden Retriever who is used to having a big backyard to run around in, you probably don’t want to choose a beneficiary who lives in a small apartment.

Give the person you want to select as your beneficiary some time to think it over. It’s a big responsibility, so he or she should take some time to decide if it’s something he or she can realistically take on.

Talk About Your Pet’s Needs

All pets are different and have varying needs. This is why it’s important to provide details about your pet’s personality and what he needs in the trust. Don’t forget to include any medications your pet takes, the food he eats, whether he sleeps in his own bed or with a human caretaker and how much exercise he needs.

Choose a Trustee

It’s important to select the right trustee for your pet’s trust. This person will be responsible for managing the funds you set aside and ensuring the caretaker users them only on your pet. If you can’t think of anyone you know who would be a good trustee, you can always assign a trust company.

Provide End-of-Life Details

In the trust, it’s also essential to include end-of-life details. Decide whether you would like your pet to be buried or cremated and include that in your trust.

Decide on the Amount to Include in the Trust

Sit down and figure out approximately how much you spend on your pet every year. Then, multiply the sum by your pet’s life expectancy to calculate the size of the fund. Make sure to include extra money for emergency medical expenses.