Under the law, pets are property, not living things in need of breakfast and a good scratch. That means your precious pooch or coddled cat could easily end up in a shelter—or worse—if you die or are unable to care for it.
Planning for your estate or “things”– check.
Planning for your loved ones or “persons”– check.
But wait, what about your pet? A pet is neither quite a person, nor is a pet quite a thing. Don’t fret! There are options to protect your beloved pet’s future.
Trusts are fairly powerful legal devices, amendable to many situations, and when they primarily benefit a friend with feathers, fins or fur, then they are appropriately termed “pet-trusts.” This special form of trust was the recent topic of an article in The Wall Street Journal titled “Pondering a Trust for Your Pet.”
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) is taking unprecedented steps to address the practical and legal considerations of ownerless but bequeathed pets. If you are an animal-lover planning your estate, then this ought to be an interesting development.
When considering if a “pet trust” is the right option for your animal friend, assess your pet’s needs and your family’s ability to fulfill those needs. This type of planning is another way to have peace of mind knowing that your pet will be cared for in the future.
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Reference: The Wall Street Journal (September 7, 2012) “Pondering a Trust for Your Pet”