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6 tips for creating an effective pet trust

Do you want to leave it all to your pet? It may surprise you that pets cannot own assets or inherit money. But you can appoint a caretaker to take on your pet's ownership and maintenance needs if something happens to you by setting up a pet trust.

What is a pet trust?

A pet trust is a legal document that lays out your wishes for your family pet. The trust also sets aside money to be used for the needs of the pet. This enables you to have a say in what will happen to your pet if you become disabled, died or otherwise cannot take care of your animal.

What should be included?

Here are several important questions you should be able to answer if you are moving forward and setting up a pet trust. Answering these questions will help you know what to include for an effective pet trust for your favorite furry friend.

  1. How much money is needed each year for your pet's health and dietary needs? Does your maintenance plan include flea and tick prevention medicine, shots and regular vet checkups? Does your pet require a special diet or other needs that should be accounted for in the trust?
  2. How will your pet be easily identifiable in order to prevent fraud? Have you micro-chipped your dog or cat, for example?
  3. What steps do you want taken when your pet dies? Do you want your pet cremated? Do you want your pet buried somewhere specifically? Including your wishes in a pet trust will ensure they are known and easier to carry out.
  4. If there is money left after your pet passes away, what should be done with those funds? You may designate a beneficiary in the pet trust for any remaining funds after your pet's needs have been taken care of or after your pet passes away.
  5. Who will you trust to be your pet's caretaker? Who is the person you will entrust with carrying out your final wishes for your pet?

An estate planning attorney can help you make arrangements for your pet's future and set up a pet trust.

What plans have you made for your pet if something happens to you?

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