Q: What is a pet trust, and how does it work?
A: Dear Doggy,
While it’s possible to name a caregiver and leave them funding for your pet in a will, a will cannot guarantee the new caregiver will use the funds properly. In fact, a person who’s left a pet in a will can simply drop the animal off at a shelter and keep the money for themselves.
Given this, the best way to ensure your pet is properly cared for is to set up a pet trust, which is similar to a trust used for humans. A pet trust allows you to layout legally binding rules for how the funds in the trust can be used. Additionally, pet trusts can cover multiple pets, work in cases of incapacity as well as death, and they remain in effect until the last animal dies. To ensure your wishes are properly carried out, you should name someone other than the caregiver as a trustee. This way, the trustee can manage the funds and make sure they are used exactly as spelled out in your instructions.
A Personal Family Lawyer™ can help you create a pet trust to ensure your beloved companion receives the love and care it deserves.