A lot of people will draft their will and actually account for their animal in their will. They’ll say, "I’m going to give my pet to my sister," or whoever they want to designate. There are a couple problems with this.
Number one, if you pass away and you have a will, then the will has to be probated. That has to be lodged with the court, and then the court essentially orders everything to go to people that are designated in the will, which is a long process. At that point the animal may already be in a shelter or given away or basically not around anymore, so that doesn’t really work.
Number two, there’s no checks and balances when you’re just giving somebody your animal. You’re just hoping that someone will care for the animal in the way that you wish.
With a pet trust, a lot of these things are alleviated. The benefit of a pet trust is you designate a caretaker for your animal. You also designate a trustee of the trust. So, there’s a checks and balances on this and the trustee is able to basically manage or check on the caretaker of the animal.
Another benefit is that most people fund them with a small life insurance policy when they set up a pet trust. So it’s not like you have to set one up and have $25,000 or $50,000 ready for the care of your animal. You just need to have a little life insurance policy. The life insurance beneficiary is the pet trust. What happens when you pass away is the life insurance proceeds are payable to the trust. The trustee then administers the trust and pays sums to the caretaker in to take care of the animal.
The other thing with a pet trust is you can designate how you want the animal to be taken care of, including what vet you want to be used; when you want the animal to be fed; how many times you want the animal to be ridden, if it’s a horse or an animal that requires more care; etc. You have a lot more control over how your animal is dealt with after you pass away. This is something especially popular with people that have horses, bigger animals, more expensive animals, because you pet owners want to make sure that they’re well provided for.
To schedule a complimentary, 15-minute phone consultation about setting up a pet trust, call (702) 850-7798, or schedule online.