If you’re thinking that you can protect your pets by leaving money in your Will, think again.
Under the law, pets are considered property and therefore, cannot inherit. The alternative is to bequeath the money to the person you’ve designated as your pet’s caretaker.
But once the money has been dispersed and the terms of the Will have been met, the estate is dissolved and the probate court is out of the picture. There’s nothing in place to ensure that the designated caregiver uses the money you’ve left behind for the well-being of your pet.
In fact, there’s nothing to stop the caregiver from taking your pet to the nearest shelter.
Now, you might think that your family or friends wouldn’t do such a thing, especially when they know how much your pet means to you. But remember that not everyone is a big animal lover, and even those that are run into situations where having a pet just isn’t practical.
It could be that your caregiver has every intention of caring for your pet after you’re gone but when the time comes, their lifestyle doesn’t really accommodate a pet anymore.
This is why over 500,000 pets are abandoned every year due to the disability or death of their human companions.
Fortunately, you have an alternative.
Many states, including Oklahoma, now have Pet Trust laws. A Pet Trust allows you to designate a caregiver and also name a trustee to oversee the funds. Because the assets are held in a trust, the trust document stays active after you pass away and can be enforced by the courts. This means that you now have a checks and balances system in place to ensure your pet is receiving the care they deserve and that the funds are being spent appropriately.
To learn more about pet trusts, give us a call today.
Attorney at Law