Have A Pet? Make Provisions In Advance

Apr 03, 2014  /  By: Barton P. Levine, Esq.  /  Category: Pet Planning

Loneliness can be a problem when you reach an advanced age, and this takes place when you perhaps lose your spouse and your children are busy with their own lives. There is no replacing those that you love, but you can try to remain positive and seek companionship through pet ownership.

Owning a pet as a senior citizen can be rewarding on a number of different levels. For one thing, as we all know the dog is man’s best friend and having a loyal buddy around the house can certainly perk up your spirits. And cats may be a bit more independent but they can be good companions as well.

In addition to this, owning a dog or cat can provide you with a renewed sense of purpose as you once again have a little dependent in the home who needs you. Plus, owning a pet can be good for your health because you may find yourself getting more exercise as you take your pet outside for walks.

You do have to make sure that your pet will be provided for if you predecease the animal. The first step will be to identify someone who will take care of the pet if it becomes necessary. The second step is to provide for the caretaker financially.

This can be done through the creation of a pet trust, and these trusts are becoming more and more popular every day.

If you are interested in learning more about how to include your pet in your estate plan, don’t hesitate to pick up the phone to arrange for a consultation with a good estate planning attorney.

The Law Offices of Barton P. Levine is a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys.

Creating a Cat Trust for Your Feline Friends

Mar 12, 2014  /  By: Barton P. Levine, Esq.  /  Category: Pet Planning

In the United States, many of us consider a family pet to be part of the family. According to the Humane Society of the United States, over 86 million cats are owned by people in the U.S, meaning that one in three households owns a cat. Of households with cats in them, just over half of them own more than one cat. If you are a cat lover, then you undoubtedly want to protect your feline friends in the event that something happens to you. A cat trust is an excellent way to do that.

A cat trust works basically the same way that any other trust works except that your cat(s) is the beneficiary of the trust. You will appoint a trustee and designate assets to fund the trust. Finally, you  will create trust terms that determine how the trust assets are to be used and when they can be distributed. You can be very general with the terms or you can provide detailed terms such as what veterinarian your cat will go to and what type of food he or she is to be fed.

Although the trustee can be the same person who will have the day to day care of your cat, it is often better to appoint a neutral trustee to further ensure that the trust accomplishes its goals. Another advantage to a cat trust is that it can also protect your cat in the event of your incapacity.

Talk to your estate planning attorney about how to set up a cat trust for your feline friends.

The Law Offices of Barton P. Levine is a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys.

The Best Gift You Can Give Your Pet this Year – A Pet Trust

Dec 01, 2012  /  By: Heather D. Levine, Esq.  /  Category: Pet Planning

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.