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Modern Estate Planning Blog

Elder Law & Special Needs Planning

Should You Create a Separate Pet Trust in Your Estate Plan

December 7, 2011

Estate planning attorneys are adept at navigating a wide variety of situations when it comes to providing the right services for their clients. In some cases, a pet trust is something that can offer peace of mind, as well as a better life for companion animals that are left behind.

Putting together a will and various trusts creates a lot of benefits. They provide for minor children who have lost a parent, offer medical directives for individuals who become incapacitated, and allow you to pass on your assets in the way you desire. It’s not unusual for clients to overlook the importance of caring for some of the most helpless family members: their pets.

When an individual passes away, his or her estate can be held up for a considerable time in probate court. Even if you’ve gotten all your ducks in a row by working with a Fair Oaks estate planning attorney, the time it takes for allocations to happen can be a problem for pets who have no one to care for them immediately. Setting up a pet trust can avoid situations where animals have to stay in the home on their own for an indeterminate period of time.

Instead, they clearly outline who will be caring for the pets and can even provide for their welfare. Sometimes it’s reasonable to offer compensation to the caregiver, and it is realistic to factor in financial support for the animal’s basic needs, such as food and veterinary care. Best of all, this can go into effect immediately, which means that your pets will be cared for right away instead of being dependent upon a court process.

Estate planning attorneys in Fair Oaks don’t just set up pet trusts for your death, either. They can help you create a plan that allows for care of the animal if you simply are unable to do so anymore. Many pet owners find that this adds the benefit of still being able to visit with their pet, as the new caregiver can be directed to bring the animal for visits to a nursing home or rehabilitation center. In the end, this means that you can still see your friend, even if you aren’t physically able to care from him or her any longer. Of course, you want to choose a caregiver who is willing to do this, so it’s important to have a conversation with whomever you choose before naming them in the trust.

Talk to your estate planning attorney here in Fair Oaks to determine if a pet trust is the right choice for you and your companion animals.

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