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How can pet owners provide for a pet's future care?

According to the New York City Economic Development Corporation, the city is home to an estimated 600,000 dogs and 500,000 cats. For many pet owners, a dog or cat is revered as not only a beloved companion, but also another member of the family. It makes sense therefore that, much like an individual may plan for the future of any loved one, a pet owner may choose to take steps to provide for a pet's future care and veterinary needs in the event he or she becomes incapacitated or dies.

A pet trust can be established to help provide for a pet's future financial and everyday care needs. Much like any trust, a pet owner must designate a trustee to oversee and manage a trust and to ensure the terms of a trust are carried out.

While adding provisions related to a pet's care can also be accounted for via a traditional will, a trust may be a more attractive option for a number of reasons. Perhaps most importantly is the fact that a trust is legally enforceable meaning that if a trustee fails to carry out his or her fiduciary duties, he or she can be removed as the trustee and a named successor trustee can take over.

Additionally, via a trust, a pet owner is able to include very specific information and directions with regard to everything from the types of doggie treats or catnip that should be purchased to the frequency of veterinary and grooming visits. In fact, it's crucial to be as specific and detailed as possible as a pet obviously cannot advocate on its behalf or take action to remove a trustee who isn't fulfilling his or her duties.

New York City pet owners who wish to learn more about pet trusts can contact an attorney who handles estate planning matters.

Source: ASPCA.org, "Pet Trust Primer," Kim Bressant-Kibwe, Aug. 5, 2015

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