Pet Trust Lawyer

Estate plans can protect your entire family, and that includes your dog, cat, or other animal companion. What would happen if you were in an accident or fell ill and couldn’t provide care? What will happen when you pass away? If you set up a pet trust, you can be certain that resources will be available to care for your pet and keep them in a good home.

How a Pet Trust Works

A trust is a special entity that will hold property on behalf of someone—in this case, your pet. The pet is the honorary beneficiary of the trust.

The property in the trust will be managed by a trustee that you name. That person will handle investments and dispense money to the caregiver to ensure that your pet has all the necessities for a comfortable life. When your animal passes away, then the trust will end and funds in the trust will go wherever you direct them. You might pass the funds to a family member or donate the remainder to charity.

When you set up the trust, you can control how the money will be used.

Getting Started with a Pet Trust

Before you set up the trust, you will need to decide who you want to serve as trustee and who will be the caregiver for your pet. One person can fill both roles. Or you might have a legal or financial professional serve as trustee while a friend or neighbor is designated as the caregiver. You should ensure the people you choose understand and agree to the responsibilities.

Then you will need to consult with your attorney to determine how you want to set up your trust. You can include the trust in your will as a testamentary trust, but that would only take effect after your death. It would not help provide care for your animals if you became incapacitated. It can also allow for delays and uncertainty while the will is in probate.

If instead you have your attorney establish a separate pet trust, then the trustee and caregiver can step in to serve your pet as soon as you become incapacitated or pass away.

Complying with Legal Requirements

Under general trust law, a trust must have a beneficiary able to enforce the terms. A pet cannot do that. So, in Iowa, many pet trusts are set up as honorary trusts. These trusts cannot hold more property than reasonably necessary to provide for care and pay a caregiver, and the trust cannot last more than 21 years.

Depending on your needs and situation, your attorney may be able to include pet trust terms in your revocable living trust or establish a different type of trust naming the caregiver as the beneficiary.

Let Huizenga Law Help You Provide for the Care of Your Pet

No one knows what will happen the next day, month, or year. When you establish a pet trust, you ensure that your beloved animal companions will always have a safe and secure home even if you are not able to care for them.

At Huizenga Law, we can prepare a pet trust to meet your specific needs and goals. Schedule a consultation today to provide the right protection for your pet.