When you are creating your estate plan you provide for your loved ones. Your loved ones are typically going to walk on two feet, and you are certainly not going to overlook the needs of your family members. However, many people have four-legged family members.
While pets have much shorter lifespans that humans, many seniors can benefit from pet ownership. There are those who are experiencing loneliness and a loss of purpose. When you have a pet, you have an entertaining and loyal companion who is relying on you. This can dramatically improve your quality of life.
Seniors who understand the value of pet ownership may take pause because of longevity concerns. This is unnecessary, because you can effectively include your pet in your estate plan.
Caretaker and Direct Bequest
If you use a last will to transfer your assets, you could name a caretaker in the will. You leave this person a direct inheritance earmarked for the care of the pet.
There are some potential difficulties that can arise if you go this route. The caretaker could legally use the inheritance in any way he or she sees fit. The pet could pass away long before the money has been exhausted, and this is another drawback.
It is possible that the pet could outlive the caretaker, and that is a third concern.
Our firm practices in Oklahoma and Kansas. Both of these states allow for the creation of pet trusts.
When you create a pet trust all of the above concerns are eliminated. When you draw up the trust, you name a trustee, and you can name a successor trustee who would take over if the original trustee was to pass away. You could name a person, but you can also name a professional fiduciary entity like a trust company.
In the trust agreement you spell out your instructions for the care of the pet, and you can be quite specific. The trustee is bound by law to follow these instructions to the letter.
You name a successor beneficiary or beneficiaries when you are drawing up the pet trust. The successor beneficiary would assume ownership of anything that is left in the trust after the death of the pet.
A pet trust can provide you with peace of mind if you want to be certain that your pet is properly cared for after you pass away.
Pet Planning Special Report
In this post we have provided some basic information about pet planning. To learn more, download our special report on the subject. It is being offered to our readers free of charge at the present time, and you can obtain access through this link: Pet Planning Report.
Parman & Easterday