Pet Trusts – Planning Today For Loving Care Tomorrow
Did you know there are more pets than children in American households? For many people, old and young alike, pets are as much a part of their family as any human.
For the elderly especially, a pet can dramatically improve their health. But who will take care of the beloved pet who outlives its owner? What will happen to the pet if its owner must transition her residence to a facility that does not allow pets? How can a person provide for the continued care of a pet who has given so much? Pets provide loyalty, unconditional love, affection and companionship.
But what happens when you are no longer able to care for your beloved “darlings?” How can you ensure that your pets will continue to receive proper care if you are unable to provide it yourself? Who will take care of them? Who will understand their unique personalities?
Many assisted and supportive living centers do not allow their residents to own pets. Do you worry that your pets could be euthanized at a shelter or veterinary office if you die or become incapacitated? The sad fact is that unless you makes appropriate arrangements, your fear could become a dreadful reality.
A 2011 Massachusetts law provides an answer: a trust for the care and feeding of your pets. The law allows a pet owner to set up a trust for the care of one or more designated domestic or pet animals. The law provides that no part of the principal or income of the trust may be converted to the use of the trustee or for any purpose not for the benefit of the covered animal.
Another good feature of the law allows the pet owner to name a person to enforce the terms of the trust, to make sure the person who is to take care of the pet lives up to his/her obligations. The trust terminates when there is no living animal covered by the trust. At that point, any unexpended trust property can be transferred (a) as directed in the trust, (b) under the residuary clause in the pet owner’s will, or (c) to the pet owner’s heirs.
By “planning today for loving care tomorrow,” you can meet your pets’ future needs while giving yourself peace of mind. By consulting with an estate planning attorney who is knowledgeable about the this unique Massachusetts Pet Trust law, you can be assured that your pets will be well-cared for when your are no longer able to care for them yourself.
If you are interested in creating a pet trust for your pet, please call us to schedule an initial consultation.