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Pet Trusts and Estate Planning-Gilbert, AZ, Part Two

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A Pet Trust legally specifies your desires for the ongoing care of your much-loved family pet after you’ve passed away or become incapacitated. In the first blog post of this two-part series about Pet Trusts and Estate Planning, we introduced the concept and explained why it is essential to protect your pet’s future. At Phelps LaClair in Gilbert, AZ, we know you care about your family and about your family pet. Here’s how to make certain your dogs, cats, and other pets will be taken care of after you’ve passed away.

What To Consider

From stating what kind of food you want your pet to eat, to allocating funds for yearly vet visits, a pet trust makes sure your pet will continue to be given the kind of care it received while part of your household. As we mentioned in our last blog post, setting up a trust for your pooch or kitty or parrot—or any other family pet—is a much better choice than setting up a will. Having determined that a Pet Trust is a better way to go, we’ve taken the time to share some specific information about Pet Trusts.

After you’re gone, it’s entirely possible a friend or family member could decide your pet shouldn’t receive the financial allocations you’ve established for its care. But clear guidelines written in your Pet Trust can determine who will take care of your pet, how your pet should be cared for, and when funds for their care are to be distributed. Setting up these details in a Pet Trust can help avoid messy and divisive litigation, and protect your pet’s future care.

As with a Living Trust, a Pet Trust is in effect while you’re alive, and also after your death. It covers your pet’s care after you’ve passed away, and in the event that you become incapacitated. Regarding incapacitation, you can also designate in your Pet Trust whether you want your pet to go with you, should you need to move into a retirement community or a long-term care facility.

Pet Trusts can also designate an investment trustee, someone who is authorized to invest funds from your estate for use on behalf of your pet, or even for giving to a named charity.

Proper Identification of Your Pet

In the following link, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) gives a thorough listing on what you can do to make sure your pet is legally tied to your Pet Trust. One wise piece of advice is to make sure your pet is properly identified (ie/by microchip technology, DNA samples, photos, etc.) in order to avoid fraudulent deception by other parties. The ASPCA also mentions taking the time to delineate what should happen with your pet’s remains when they die, and who should receive any remaining assets when your pet no longer needs them.

Phelps LaClair is an estate planning firm that has served Scottsdale, Phoenix, Gilbert, Chandler and Mesa areas in Arizona for more than 40 years. If you’d like to know more about Pet Trusts and estate planning, contact us today for a free consultation. We’re ready to give you sound advice on securing the future for your family and your family pet.

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (3/27/2018) Jonas Löwgren (Flickr)

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