The dogs, cats and other animals we share our homes with become more than just pets. For many, these furry, feathered or even scaled companions become family members. As such, an increasing number of pet owners are taking steps to better ensure their pets receive a similar level of care throughout the pet’s life.
An active plan is particularly important for those who have pets that are more than just animals kept outside. Pets that live indoors with our families often have vet, grooming, nutrition and social needs that can become costly. Pet owners can help better ensure these needs are met by putting together an animal companion trust.
How can pet owners achieve this goal?
Unfortunately, simply leaving money to trusted individual and asking them to take on ownership may not be enough. A pet trust can provide the added security of legally enforceable written instructions.
Why does our pet need a trust?
Most states consider pets a piece of property. As such, the state may not provide for the pet’s care if the owner does not take an active role in preparing for the pet’s future. A pet owner must generally include instructions in a will or trust to ensure future pet care.
Pet owners may prefer to use a trust over a will as it provides the ability for specific instructions and remains private.
What does the trust entail?
A trust is a legal document. When putting together a trust, the pet owner will generally include the following:
- Beneficiary: the pet
- Trustee: the person who oversees the trust
- Caretaker: the person who cares for the pet
- Enforcer: the individual who makes sure the funds are used according to the terms of the trust
The language of the trust can include care taking instructions. This can include instructions on nutrition needs grooming, social needs like animal daycare, training and medical needs.