Question 1: How Does a Pet Trust Work?
When you create a trust, you set aside some property (usually money) and specify how that money can be used. Pet trusts allow you to set aside money that will only be used to care for your pet. Many pet owners create them to ensure their pets are cared and provided for after the owner dies.
Question 2: Does the Pet Own the Trust?
No. A pet trust sets up a relationship between the money you set aside, the trust manager, and the person who cares for the pet. Pets cannot legally own property, so the trust is there to let the pet have a way to be cared for after an owner dies. The person who runs the trust, known as a trustee, is responsible for ensuring that the pet’s needs are met by using money to pay for food, grooming, toys, medical care, and other expenses. The trust also selects someone who will physically care for the pet, called a caregiver.
Question 3: How Much Should I Transfer to the Trust?
This depends on the type of animal you have, how long it will live, and what kinds of expenses it could be reasonably expected to incur. A Florida court does have the ability to modify the amount of money a pet trust is allowed to have if it finds the amount unreasonable, so you’ll need to consult with your estate planning lawyer to make sure your trust is established properly.
You can learn more about trusts at one of our free living trust seminars in October. Our next sessions will be on October 23rd, 24th, and 25th in either Vero Beach or Port St. Lucie. Contact our office for more information and reservation details by calling (772) 398-0720 or (772) 778-8481.