DOES YOUR ESTATE PLAN INCLUDE YOUR PETS?
A tragic loss inspired this particular post. A few weeks ago, our family lost one of our treasured pugs, named Moe. To say we were devastated is to understate the impact of the loss. Moe’s passing provoked some work-related thoughts. As long as we can make decisions, we were certainly going to do everything we could for his well-being and health. But if we were not making the decisions, whether through sickness or death, how could we make sure others would take the same steps.
WHAT IS A PET TRUST?
A pet trust allows people to plan for the care and maintenance of their pets in case of their death or disability. Arizona statute recognizes these legal arrangements, See ARS 14-2907. Through a pet trust, a person can be entrusted with funds for the care and maintenance of beloved pets.
WHY DO I WANT A PET TRUST?
While oftentimes we outlive our animals, in many cases the inverse is true. What will happen if your animals outlive you? This can be a particular concern for animals with long lifespans, such as horses or parrots, but is relevant to all animal lovers. A pet trust makes sure that instructions and funds are left behind for the well-being of your pets. Specific directions, such as brands of food, veterinary schedule, and end-of-life treatment can all be detailed. Setting this up in advance will make sure beloved pets are given the same level of care as you would have chosen for them.
WHAT DO I NEED TO DO?
If you are concerned for your pets, make sure existing wills or trusts you have in place address their care. If the topic is not specifically addressed you will want to make appropriate changes to ensure your wishes are carried out.
These are just some of the great resources available to learn more about pet trusts.
– The ASPCA website offers extensive information on planning for your pet’s future.
– The Animal Legal & Historical Center offers resources on pet trusts and wills.