Did you know that the American Veterinary Medical Association found that 85 percent of dog-owners and 76 percent of cat-owners think of their pets as family? We love our pets like family, so we should treat them as such. As a part of our families, pets deserve continuing care in the event of our incapacity or passing. One of the best ways to do this is to establish a pet trust. Trusts are not only for dogs and cats. A trust may be established under Florida law for all kinds of animal companions, including horses, turtles, birds, and more! Trusts can be extremely beneficial for long-living animals such as certain reptiles and birds that can live over 100 years and require specialized care. We at the Orlando Law Group care for our pets immensely, as you may be able to tell from our Facebook and Instagram pages showcasing the “Pets of OLG.”. As such, we want to let you know that a pet trust may be the exact thing you need in order to ensure your pets are well cared for after you have passed. Using a pet trust, you can leave money to be used for the care of your pet(s), put someone in charge of managing and spending that money, and include a set of written instructions created by you to ensure that your furry friend is well taken care of in the event of your incapacitation or death. Read on to learn more about setting up a Pet Trust in Florida!
Setting Up a Pet Trust
Once, pet trusts were considered a far-fetched idea. Now, Florida (along with the other 49 states) has established statutory provisions (F.S. §736.008) providing for the ability to create a pet trust for our beloved animals. A pet trust outlines who will care for your pets, for how long, and the exact maintenance terms desired. Florida is unique compared to some of the other states, in that it allows the trust to continue until the death of the last remaining pet, instead of limiting the length of the trust to 21 years. Importantly, a pet trust can only be set up for animals alive during your lifetime.
Should you have more than one animal that requires care, that is permitted as well. You have the ability to appoint a caregiver for your animal(s), as well as a trustee who will enforce the terms of the trust and ensure that the funds you have set aside for your pets are used the way you intended. The trustee can verify that your pets are being cared for by their appointed caregiver in the way you have outlined, by way of receipts and/or medical bills, and if those funds are not being used in accordance with the terms of your trust, your trustee may have the ability to remove the person appointed to care for your animals and replace them with an alternate person. Within the pet trust, you can also specify your choices for an alternate person or persons to care for your pets in the event that your first choice of caregiver is removed by the trustee, incapacitated or passes away. Additionally, unless the trust documents specifically state otherwise, if the amount in the trust exceeds what is needed to pay for the animal’s care, it will be administered either as part of the grantor’s estate or to the grantor himself/herself if living. A pet trust works the same as a revocable living trust. You, the grantor, create a legal trust entity and fund the trust by placing the necessary money and assets into a separate account in the trust’s name.
You are the one who knows your pet best, so it is important to leave a detailed plan for the care of the pet. Some important information you can have in your pet trust could include necessary medication for your pet to be administered, should they have any medical issues; their likes, their dislikes, which veterinarian you prefer they go to, their activity level and, any past, present, or future concerns you may have regarding your pet(s). You may also include whether you would like your pet cremated or buried after they have passed. All of these are important to ensuring the well-being of the pet, and outlining such will allow you to make sure your animal(s) will be properly cared for.
A pet trust is the best way to ensure that your pets are never sent to a shelter, sold or placed in the wrong hands in the event of your passing. Because the trust includes necessary funds to pay for your pets’ care, having a pet trust takes the burden off of your family or loved ones to financially provide for them after you are incapacitated or have passed away. Additionally, the detailed wishes in the trust guarantee that your pet is cared for just the way that you want even after you are no longer around.
There is much more to know about pet trusts before you are able to decide whether they are the correct estate planning tool for you. If creating a pet trust is something you may be interested in, be sure to consult with a knowledgeable estate and trust attorney.
Protecting Your Pet is Just a Phone Call Away.
Do you love your pets like any other member of your family? Do you ever cringe at the thought of your pet passing away? Do you ever wonder what would happen to them if you passed first? Don’t leave planning for your future and that of your furry friends to chance. All it takes is one phone call to the Orlando Law Group to ensure that your wishes are followed, and your loved ones (both animal and human) are cared for when you are gone. Call us at 407.512.4394 to receive only assistance regarding your estate planning but peace of mind as well. Our experienced attorneys would be happy to help you with any estate planning matters and questions you may have.
Last Updated on July 25, 2022 by The Orlando Law Group