In the United States, we are a country that loves animals. Americans own over 78 million dogs and over 86 million cats according to the U.S. Humane Society. Pet ownership among older Americans has grown significantly over the last few decades as seniors have come to appreciate the many benefits of owning a furry friend. If you are one of these people, the best gift you can give your pet this year is a pet trust.
Depending on the breed, a dog’s average lifespan is anywhere from about 11 to 14 years. The average indoor cat tends to live a bit longer with an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years. If you purchase a cat or dog when you are in your golden years this could mean that your pet outlives you. Because your pet is likely a part of your family, you probably want to ensure that he or she is well cared for after your death. Creating a pet trust is the best way to accomplish this.
A pet trust allows you to appoint a trustee to administer the trust. Your trustee can be the same person who will have the day to day care of your pet but can also be a neutral third party. Your trust terms can be very specific, such as how often to feed your pet, what brand of food to purchase, and what type of burial you want your pet to have. On the other hand, your terms can be discretionary which allows the trustee to make most of the decisions. The important thing is that a pet trust will give you the peace of mind of knowing that your pet will be well-taken care of if you are not here to care for him or her yourself one day.
The Law Offices of Barton P. Levine is a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys.