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The What, How, And Why Of Pet Trusts: Part Two


In Pet Trusts: Part One, we went over what a pet trust is and why it’s important. Now we’ll walk you through the different types and just how simple it is to set one up. Our fur babies are an unending supply of love and trust. Let’s return that by ensuring they’ll always be cared for, even after we’re gone.

The Three Types of Pet Trusts

There are three ways to provide for your pet after your death:

  1. A Traditional Pet Trust: In a traditional trust, we provide instructions for your fur baby’s car, select a caregiver, and name a separate person to handle the money.  If the trust is funded by life insurance, we’d go ahead and name both the trust and beneficiary when you open the policy. Your life insurance company will show the best way to word the agreement.
  2. A Pet Protection Agreement: If we do not need to leave a lot of money, we can create our own Pet Protection agreement through a site like Legal Zoom. This agreement lets us spell out the terms of the agreement and becomes legally binding once signed by the pet’s future guardian.
  3. A Statutory Pet Trust: A statutory pet trust is much simpler to set-up than a traditional one. To do that, we just add a legally binding line to our will, such as: “I’m leaving $10,000 dollars to pay for the care of Mister Whiskers.” It will then be up to the probate court to assign people to handle the money and care for the animal.

If we’re looking for maximum flexibility, it’s always best to go with a traditional trust. Unlike the other two, traditional trusts have few limits on what you can and cannot specify.

Getting Started

Before drafting up an agreement, we’ll have to do our homework. We’ll start by taking a few hours this week to compile the following information:

  • The name and address of our trustee, our trustee’s successor, and our preferred animal caregiver. Never leave the money to the caregiver—it creates a conflict of interest.
  • A few pictures of our pets and a list of identifying features that will help prevent fraud. We’ll also have to ensure that our pet is microchipped.
  • Our preferences for the pet’s care and standard of living after we’re gone
  • The amount of money we’ll have to set aside to adequately cover our pet’s expenses and how we’d like that money to be distributed
  • Our wishes for any money left over after the animal’s passing—most lawyers suggest donating it to an animal welfare organization.
  • A written agreement from our preferred caregiver agreeing to the terms outlined in your rough draft

That should be more than enough to get started!

Along with a pet trust, we should all consider pet insurance. A pet trust will make life after we’re gone easier on our fur-babies, but pet insurance makes life, illness, and unforeseeable health-related circumstances, easier on everyone. Learn Everything You Need To Know About Pet Insurance, followed by Common Pet Insurance Myths and then shop Vet Organics vetted pet insurance providers.

Making a Pet Trust Happen:

Once you know the direction you want to go, it’s time to contact a local estate attorney. Walk them through your plan and set up an appointment to discuss your pet trust in more detail. If you cannot afford a professional, there are a few templates available online. Just fill one of these out and sign it in front of a witness or two. Once that’s done, get it notarized by a local official.

None of us want to think of a future where we’re not the ones tossing Fido’s favorite tennis ball. Nonetheless, we need to prepare for it. After all, we do not want our furry friends spending the rest of their lives in a kennel—or stuck with a family who doesn’t love them as much as we did. So, let’s take a few minutes and think about our pet’s future and take action.

It’s the least we can do.

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