Pet Trusts

Who will care for your pets when you die or if you become incapacitated or hospitalized? Many pet owners consider their pets to be family members. However, because legally a pet is considered personal property, it cannot be named as a beneficiary in a will. However, you can choose a pet caregiver and set aside money for your pet in a will. You could also create a pet trust which provides oversight over how the funds are spent. Although not legal in all states, pet trusts are legal in New York.

Pet trusts are a formal mechanism to set forth that in the event of a grantor’s disability or death, a trustee will hold funds “in trust” for the benefit of the grantor’s pets. Payments to a designated caregiver or several caregivers are made on a regular basis. A person’s trust can mean the difference between the life and death of the pet.

When creating a pet trust, you will need to name a caretaker who is willing and able to care for the pet. The more specific the instructions, the better. An owner can require the caretaker to bring the pet for visits with the incapacitated owner. A person with multiple pets may want to specify that they continue to live together. A trustee should be named who disburses the funds to the caretaker. There are also not-for-profit sanctuary organizations that will provide perpetual care programs for pets. There are many things to consider when deciding how to ensure that your pet is cared for. Consult with an experienced estate planning attorney.

Weinstein, Chase, Messinger & Peters is an experienced will, trusts, and estate law firm serving the Brooklyn and New York City Area. If you need quality and attentive legal services, contact WCM & P for a consultation. 

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