You’ve provided for all your loved ones in your estate plan, but what about your pet? You can’t bear to think of your dog or cat going to an animal shelter when they have enjoyed such a wonderful life of pampering and love with you. So, what can you do to protect them and ensure that they will live out their years in the same style? You can set up a pet trust.
A pet trust works much the same as a regular trust. You set aside money for the pet’s care and choose a person that will care for them. Although you cannot set up an account in the pet’s name, you can bequeath an amount of money to their caregiver. The best case scenario is that the caregiver will use the funds for the care of your pet, but there have been cases where a caregiver decides they wish to keep the money for themselves and the pet end up in a shelter anyway. To prevent such an unfortunate event, you should also name a trustee of the trust. The caregiver then will have to ask the trustee for disbursements, and the trustee can monitor the activities of the caregiver.
The trustee can be someone as official as an attorney, or another friend you trust. Whomever you choose, understand that the trust itself is a legal entity and any wrongdoing or misappropriation of funds can be punishable through the court system.
Your choice of caregiver should be someone who already has an established relationship with your pet. Having your pet go to live with someone they already know will make the transition much easier on them. Since your pet will be missing you, as will your friend, together they can comfort each other through the loss.