Trust Lawyer St. Peters, Missouri
When you create an estate plan, you are usually making plans for all the human loved ones in your life. However, for many people, pets are also considered family members and, as such, more and more people are also making plans for their furry loved ones in the event they should die.
At Legacy Law Center, we work with many of our clients in helping make these arrangements and have utilized pet trusts as a way to ensure their pet is well taken care of when the client dies. The following is a brief overview of how a trust can work. For more detailed information, contact a trust lawyer from our firm for a free consultation.
Factors that Need to be Addressed in a Pet Trust
Most states have passed some sort of law which addresses the subject of pet trusts. These trusts are considered estate planning tools and work similar to other types of trusts. The person setting up the trust must choose a trustee who will oversee the assets in the trust and there must be specific instructions on how the pet should be cared for. Some pet owners choose to have the same person who will be caring for the pet as trustee, while others choose to have another party trustee of the pet trust.
In order for a pet trust to be valid, the following items need to be addressed:
- The trust must specifically identify the pet or pets that will be covered by the trust you are setting up. The funds of the trust can only be used for the pets that are named in the trust. The trustee is only able to use funds from the trust on the pet named in the trust. This is why it is critical to have a trust lawyer perform periodic reviews of all estate planning documents. For example, a person sets up a pet trust when they only have one dog. At some point, they get a second dog but never adds that dog to the trust. Then they pass away. The trustee would only be able to use funds to care for the first dog, not the second.
- The assets in the pet trust can only be used to care for the pet unless the owner has specifically stated in the trust instructions that funds can be used for the benefit of any other people or pets.
- The owner of the trust should also specify what should be done with any balance left in the trust once the covered pet or pets has passed away. Your trust lawyer in St. Peters, Missouri can include language in your instructions which specify how those funds should be distributed. If no such instructions are left, then the remaining funds would go to your heirs per the laws of the state you live in. For example, if you want the person taking care of the pet to receive any leftover assets, then that needs to be specified in your instructions, otherwise, your assets would be divided among your heirs and the pet caretaker would receive nothing – unless they were one of your heirs.
For more detailed information about pet trusts, and other estate planning tools, contact a trust lawyer St. Peters, Missouri clients depend on from Legacy Law Center today.