Are you concerned about who will take care of your pet after you are gone? Set your worries aside. Simply establish a pet trust. With a pet trust, you can leave money to be used for the care of your pet. No human beneficiary is required — you designate someone to be in charge of managing and spending the trust according to your written instructions. In Florida, pet trusts are legally enforceable so you can rest easy knowing your instructions for your animal(s) will be carried out.
A pet trust is a legal document which provides for the care and maintenance of one or more animals in the event of your disability or death. The person creating the trust is known as the “grantor”. In Florida, which authorized pet trusts in 2002, the trust can provide for care of the pet as long as the animal lives or – in the case of a trust for multiple animals – until the death of the last pet. The grantor can designate a trustee in the trust document or one may be appointed by the court.
Generally, the trustee named by the grantor in the pet trust will hold property — cash — “in trust” for the benefit of the pet(s). Payments are made to the designated caregiver on a regular basis for the care of the animal(s). Instructions for the caregiver are typically very detailed in pet trusts. You may specify a particular brand of food to be provided, the number of veterinary visits each year, or any other details regarding the type of care that should be provided.
Selecting an individual to act as caregiver for your pet is an important decision. This person will have custody of your pet and be responsible for its day-to-day care. It is wise to first consult with the individual you have in mind for this role as not everyone is willing to assume this responsibility. Consider naming an alternate caregiver in the event the first person named is unable care for your pet when the need arises.
Determining how much money the caregiver will need to provide care for your pet(s) can be challenging, particularly with the uncertainty of how long care will need to be provided. Amounts also vary depending upon the pet’s age and health condition. Consult your veterinarian and estate planning specialist for assistance. Be sure to provide instruction regarding how any leftover money should be spent once the animal dies.
Estate planning is about providing for loved ones, pets included. Ensure the best care for your pet by establishing a pet trust. The Palm Beach estate planning lawyers at Kitroser, Lewis & Mighdoll, with a combined 30 years of experience, are skilled in developing pet trusts and estate plans to meet your needs. Gain peace of mind knowing your loved ones are cared for according to your wishes. Contact a member of our team today to schedule a consultation at 561-721-0600 or online.
The North Palm Beach Estate Planning Lawyers of Kitroser, Lewis & Mighdoll, welcome clients from the cities of West Palm Beach, Stuart, Palm Beach Gardens, Palm Beach, Jupiter, Tequesta, Juno Beach, Singer Island, Lake Park, Hobe Sound, Royal Palm Beach, Wellington, Lake Worth, as well as all of Palm Beach County, Martin County and South Florida.
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