Pets are more than just that. They’re friends, companions, even part of the family. And as such, we want to make sure they’re taken care of and provided for in case the worse ever happens.
Luckily, a trust can be set up for the benefit of your furry (or feathery) companion. It is now easier than ever to set up a trust for your pet, because, in 2016, Minnesota became the last state to allow for a testamentary trusts to be left for the benefit of a pet.
As of 2016, all states allow for the inclusion of a testamentary trust. This means it’s as easy as including something along the lines of “I leave $3,000 in trust for the benefit of Rex”. While you can explicitly mention a trustee, you don’t have to, as the court that handles the will can assign someone to take care of it. Learn here about land trusts.
However, while this is the easiest option, it’s not the most detailed one. This course of action doesn’t allow for specific details and instructions to be left on how to handle the trust.
If you want to leave more details and instructions, you can set up a traditional trust for the benefit of your pet. There are three things that you need to keep in mind as the settlor of a trust.
First, think about the corpus of the trust. This basically means what exactly you’re leaving behind, such as money or other assets. Think about the standard of life you want your pet to have and for how long. Remember, this should also account for any costs the trustee’s services might present. Second, think about the trustee. This is the person that’s in charge of managing the assets and taking care of all the financials. This could be a friend, a family member, or even a professional trustee service. And finally, think about the beneficiary. This is the person that will inherit Rex and will take care of the day to day tasks. The trustee and beneficiary roles can be assigned to the same person, but that is up to you to decide.
With a trust, you can be as specific as you want with the tasks you leave behind. You can leave detailed instructions on the care of your pet that have to be followed to the letter, covering everything from which brand of pet food Rex is going to be fed to where exactly they’re going to sleep, or even which toys they are to play with; or trust your trustee and beneficiary to take care of everything themselves.
When it comes to financing it all, life insurance can be a great option to consider. If you appoint a loved one or a child as the beneficiary, 90% of it all can go to them, and 10% could go to covering all of the needs for your pet.
Pet trusts are recommended for pets with long life spans that might outlive their owners, or for exotic pets that need proper care and cannot be left to anyone. But if you want to make sure your pet is well provided for in case you’re ever absent, pet trusts can be a step in the right direction for responsible pet ownership. Learn more about trusts here.