Do I Need a Trust If I Have No Heirs?
I recently became a widow at 61 years old. We never had children. I don't wish to leave my assets to anyone except a specific...Read more
Beezer the cat can be a member of the family, but what happens to Beezer or [insert your pet's name] after you are gone? How can you ensure your pet will be cared for? One option is to create a pet trust. While you can give directions in your will to leave your pet to a caretaker, there is no guarantee that the caretaker will continue to care for your pet. A pet trust can provide a little more security for the pet because a third party -- the trustee -- is obligated to ensure the pet is cared for.
A trust is a legal arrangement through which one person (or an institution, such as a bank or law firm), called a "trustee," holds legal title to property for another person, called a "beneficiary." With a pet trust, the trustee makes payments on a regular basis to your pet's caregiver and pays for your pet's needs as they come up.
The federal tax code does not recognize a pet as a beneficiary of a trust. However, all 50 states and the District of Columbia have laws allowing pet trusts. Another option is to set up a traditional trust and place the pet in the trust along with the funds. The pet's caregiver can be named the beneficiary.
The first step is to contact your attorney. To find an attorney near you, go here: https://www.elderlawanswers.com/elder-law-attorneys. Regardless of what type of trust you use, the following are some elements the trust should include:
For more about making pets a part of your estate plan, click here.