The love owners have for their pets transcends death, as the Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum points out. Studies reveal that between 12% and 27% of pet owners include their pets in their wills.
It’s possible to do a lot more than that through a pet trust, which is a legal document you use to be sure your pet receives proper care after you die or in the event of your disability. How does such a trust work? In a pet trust, you arrange to pay a trusted individual to take proper care of your pet according to your instructions. That beneficiary becomes the designated caregiver, who uses the money in the trust to pay for the pet’s expenses.
Important facts to consider in deciding how much money to transfer to a pet trust:
- Type of animal and what the life expectancy is for that type of animal
- The standard of living you wish to provide – animal sitter? Professional boarding business? Friend?
- What is to happen when the caretaker is on vacation, out of town , or in the hospital?
- You should avoid transferring an unreasonably large sum of money to a pet trust (that might encourage other heirs to contest the trust)
Are pet trusts legal everywhere in the U.S.? As of January 2017, all 50 states and the District of Columbia have enacted pet trust laws. Minnesota, the last state, enacted its pet trust law in 2016. Indiana’s pet trust statute, Indiana Code § 30-4-2-18, was enacted in 2005.
At Rebecca W. Geyer & Associates, we particularly appreciate the way Professor Gerry W. Beyer of Texas Tech University School of Law describes pet trusts:
Estate planning provides a method to provide for those whom we want to comfort after we die
and to those who have comforted us. It is not surprising that a pet owner often wants to
often wants to assure that his or her trusted companion is well-cared for after the owner’s
Our work at Geyer Law is dedicated to helping clients provide for those they want to comfort after they die and those who have comforted them!