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The understated importance of a pet trust

Many people understand the need for a will, and most people understand that having an estate plan is a good idea for protecting their assets and beneficiaries down the line. One thing that isn't always spoken about is the need for a pet trust.

If you're a pet lover, then you probably have at least one at home. What happens if you get into an accident and can't care for your pet any longer? What if you pass away? A pet trust is necessary for these situations, especially if you aren't sure who would adopt your pet.

In a pet trust, you make your pet's needs known. You determine who will inherit your pet and can even include money or assets to go along with that inheritance. It's usually a good idea to include some compensation, at least for what your pet needs medically and for food or toys.

In the case that you don't know who could take care of your dog, then you can actually just leave a specified amount of money to care for your pet. For example, you might leave $6,000 in a trust for your dog's care. If no one has been selected to be the beneficiary, then the court can decide on who can take the pet and also appoint a trustee to make sure the money is used wisely and that the pet is cared for.

If you appoint a beneficiary and want to leave that person compensation for caring for your pet, you can also choose to have the funds distributed monthly or upon health or welfare checks. For instance, you might indicate that the individual can have a distribution of $1,000 upon your pet's yearly vet visit and checkup. This helps guarantee that your pet is being cared for and is healthy. It also makes sure the beneficiary doesn't take advantage of the pet trust funds.

You can make very specific rules in a trust. For example, if you want your dog to have two walks a day, you can indicate this. Do you want him to have an annual dental exam? You can include that, too. Within reason, whatever you put in a trust is legally binding, so the person who inherits the pet needs to follow your wishes for the lifetime of your pet.

Your attorney can help you put together a pet trust, so you can make sure your furry friend is cared for in your absence.

Source: Nov. 30, -0001

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