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Why those with complex estates may require a pet trust

On Behalf of | Sep 6, 2022 | Estate Planning

You may have diversified your personal holdings to protect yourself and your family members against any economic changes. However, the more complex your holdings are, the more likely it is for your family members to fight over some of your assets after you die.

The property you pass on to your loved ones and charitable organizations after your death can be a major source of conflict among the people that you love. Their desire to receive a large inheritance may push them to do things that they usually would not.

The problem with leaving assets to a pet

Those expecting to receive a large inheritance may begrudge anyone and anything that diminishes what they view as their rightful inheritance. Your companion animal could be in a risky position after your death if you don’t plan carefully. While your children or other loved ones may treat your pet kindly now, they may come to resent it if you pass it to them as a responsibility after your death.

If you set aside some of your estate for the care of the animal, the wrong people may offer to take your pet, motivated by the resources and not by what would be best for the animal. Loved ones could also challenge your wishes, as animals usually don’t have the right to own property. A pet trust helps protect companion animals from misconduct and removes the incentive to mistreat or euthanize a pet.

How a pet trust helps

You have total control over the care the animal receives through a pet trust. For example, you can name a veterinarian to provide care and even provide instructions regarding the kind of food and exercise the animal requires.

The caregiver can receive compensation for their labor and for costs, and a trustee can help ensure that the person caring for the animal does not mistreat the pet or misuse the resources set aside for the animal’s care. The person who creates the trust can even designate a specific benefit beneficiary for any remaining assets in the trust after the pet dies of natural causes or the trustee approves euthanasia for serious quality of life or health issues.

Your pets depend on you for everything, from housing to knowing what kind of veterinary care they require. Taking the time to add protection for your companion animal into your estate plan will reward them for the years of loving support they have given you.