Can I Create a Trust for my Pet?

For many people, their pets are a member of their family. They refer to them as their “four-legged children” or their “fur babies.” For many individuals, planning for their pet’s care after their death is an import element of estate planning. However, pets cannot inherit money or property. Therefore, if you want to provide for your pet’s care after your death, you may want to consult a Texas pet trusts lawyer about creating a trust for your pet.

What is a Pet Trust?

You can provide for your pet in your estate plan by creating a trust for your pet. A trust is a document that creates a legal entity to hold and manage assets for a specific beneficiary. The trust is managed by a trustee and may benefit one or more beneficiaries, including but not limited to individuals, charities, schools, and pets.

In many ways, your pet is like a child. Your pet depends on you for its care and upkeep. It requires shelter, food, water, and veterinarian care. You may have someone who agrees to care for your pet, but how do you provide for the financial expenses for your pet. You can leave money directly to that person in your will, but you cannot force the person to use the money for your pet.

By creating a trust, you have a way to control the money you want to leave for the care of your pet. You also avoid creating a potential tax burden for the person who cares for your pet because he or she does not directly receive the money.

Furthermore, trust assets are not subject to the probate process. Therefore, the person caring for your pet can receive funds from the trust immediately after your death instead of waiting for your estate to complete probate and assets to be distributed to heirs. A trust ensures that your pet’s caregiver has the funds he or she needs to continue to care for your pet without interruption. This feature can be very important if your pet requires a specific brand of expensive food, medication, or other supplies that may be costly for the caregiver to provide without some benefit from you.

What Happens to the Money in the Pet Trust After My Pet’s Death?

You can set up your pet trust to end with your pet’s death. Because you are the grantor of the trust, you choose how any remaining money is to be disbursed after your pet’s death. For example, you may give the remaining money to the caregiver, or you may leave the money to another heir or charity. You could even direct that the money is placed in another trust to provide for the education of your grandchildren. The disposition of the funds in the trust is up to you.

Contact a Texas Estate Planning Attorney for More Information

If you are interested in creating a pet trust, a Texas estate planning attorney can help you develop a trust agreement that protects your pet and provides the financial support your pet needs after your death.

As with any trust agreement, you want to make sure that the terms of the trust and the document itself are legally enforceable under Texas law. Contact the Law Office of Carey Thompson today to ensure your wishes for your pet are carried out after your death.