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  • Writer's pictureCook Tillman

Pet trusts can help pet owners have peace of mind

No two estates will ever be the same, as there are bound to be major differences between the lives — and accrued wealth — of the grantors. But many people own pets, so when it comes to establishing trusts for an estate, an animal companion trust or pet trust can be hugely beneficial for many different people.

A pet trust functions in the same way as a living trust, with the key difference being that the pet trust is meant for your dog, or cat, or other animal. The trust is a legal agreement that makes arrangements for your pet when you pass away. You can allot property and assets to your pet to make sure he or she is taken care of.

How long does the pet trust last?

The laws of your state will determine the timeline for your pet trust, but in general, your pet will be covered under a pet trust for at least 21 years, or until the end of the pet’s life. Here in Tennessee, the law actually provides for 90 years of coverage — an amazing amount of time that has been celebrated by turtles across the state!

Why should you utilize a pet trust?

With a pet trust, your pet’s care can be customized to your wishes. Only you know how your pet should be cared for and the things he or she needs. You can be very specific in your pet trust, and you can cover a wide range of issues and matters.

So with that in mind, what do I need to do for my pet trust?

First and foremost, you need to identify your pet and prove your ownership. This can be done by providing photos or DNA samples with your trust documents. Secondly, go into great detail about what your pet needs and how it should be cared. How often does it need to see the vet or be groomed? What food should your pet receive? How much money is needed to cover these costs?

Third and finally, you should include all necessary provisions that relate to any excess funds in the trust should they go unused. Who is the recipient of those funds when the trust ends or your pet passes away?

You have a lot of flexibility with pet trusts, and these arrangements can go a long way towards ensuring your pet is happy and lives a healthy life.

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