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  • Writer's pictureCook Tillman

What happens to your pet when you die?

Estate planning is a beneficial way of planning where your property and assets will go after you pass away. Many people are unaware that you can also set a trust for your pets.

A pet trust is a legal arrangement that ensures how your pet will be taken care of after you pass away. Similar to other types of trusts, you will set up the trust and name a trustee. The trustee will hold the assets on behalf of your pet and use them to pay for your pet’s expenses. Not only will a pet trust help to ensure what happens to your pet after you die, but it can be a helpful way of preventing your pet from going to someone you might not want them to.

You can provide funds in a pet trust to pay for a variety of expenses. Some of these might include veterinary appointments, grooming care, boarding costs, cremation arrangements, food and other daily expenses.

Additionally, you should address the following elements when creating the trust for your pet, including:

  1. When the trust will go into effect

  2. Who you would like the trustee to be

  3. Who you would like the new owner of your pet to be

  4. How often the new owner should confer with the trustee

  5. Any routines or care you expect the new owner to continue

  6. How much money you would like to leave to take care of your pet

  7. Which pet, if multiple, the trust covers

It can also be important to consider what will happen to your pet when they die. In the trust, it might be beneficial to specify any end of life care treatment you want for your pet, as well as what should happen to the remainder of the trust money when your pet passes away. Many people tend to allocate the rest of the funds to charity, other beneficiaries or the new owner of your pet.

As a pet owner, establishing a pet trust can be one of the most important arrangements in your estate plan. In order to make sure your pet receives the best care possible when you pass away, consider seeking legal advice with an experienced estate planning attorney.


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