Question 1: How do I create a pet trust?
To create a pet trust you must write a document that contains very specific terms. A trust is a fictitious entity much like a corporation. The trust can own property but only for the benefit of a specified person, known as the beneficiary. Another person, called a trustee, is responsible for managing the trust property. When you create a trust you must name the beneficiary, the trustee, and ensure that you transfer property to the trust.
Question 2: When do I create a trust?
You can create a trust at any time, but the key question is not when you do it, but rather, when the trust becomes effective. If you create a Will that directs for the creation of a trust, the trust will not become effective until after you die. On the other hand, you can also create a pet trust while you are still alive, known as a living trust or an “inter vivos” trust.
Question 3: How much money should I transfer to the trust?
The amount of money you need to properly care for your pet will differ depending on the kind of animal you have, its life expectancy, needs, and other factors. The key legal question is not really how much you transfer to the trust, but whether that amount is reasonable. If you transfer too much money to the trust your family may challenge it and the court might declare it invalid.