We all know the important role our pets play in our lives. They have moved well beyond the title of "service animal" and captured our hearts, becoming our dearest companions and friends. This is sometimes even more true as we age and health issues keep us from living the active life we once enjoyed.
In fact, loneliness is the most popular reason that senior citizens invest in a cat or dog - they give us someone to talk to, even if the animal doesn't always talk back. Unfortunately, not everyone sees our beloved pet in the same rosy light we do and when we're no longer able to take care of Fluffy or Mr. Whiskers, there's no guarantee that friends and family will continue providing the care your pet has grown to expect.
Which raises a discerning question: who will care for your pet when you can't?
Fortunately, a pet trust allows you to provide for your pet's future, both financially and emotionally. With a pet trust, you have a legally binding document that can be enforced by the courts. You have a means for leaving money behind to provide for your pet's care and you have several individual people responsible for different aspects of your pet's care program.
Setting up a trust fund for a pet provides a number of benefits. First, it will give you some peace of mind. Knowing that you have a plan in place to provide for your pet when you're no longer able can help ease the worry of growing old. The second thing a pet trust does is ensure that your pet will enjoy a safe and happy life, whether you're around to provide it or not. Too often, many pets end up in shelters or euthanized after their owners have died, simply because there's no one willing to take the pet into their home. A pet trust solves this problem by not only designating who will care for the pet but also providing the financial means to do so.
Another benefit of a pet trust is that it eliminates the potential disputes between family members over the contents of your will. If for example, you have multiple children, simply leaving a large lump sum to one of them for future pet care would likely create hard feelings between family members. But with a pet trust, your will can still be distributed as you originally intended and the additional money left for the pet will be designated in the trust.
Of course, to set up a proper pet trust, there are some steps you'll need to follow and you'll definitely want to enlist the help of an attorney who specializes in creating pet trusts, but the extra effort will be well worth your time.
EasyPetPlanning.com was created by the founders of The American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys http://aaepa.com, a national organization promoting excellence in estate planning by providing its exclusive membership of attorneys with up-to-date research, educational materials, and other vital practice management techniques. To learn more about pet trusts and to sign up for our free e-course on how to protect your pet's future, visit our website.
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