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WHAT IS A PET TRUST AND WHY WOULD I WANT ONE ?
Those of us who think of our companion animals as family members are becoming aware of the fact that part of our responsibility to these dependent creatures is to make sure that their care and comfort continue uninterrupted should we become incapable of caring for them ourselves. One way to plan for that contingency is to set up something called a pet trust. To help you decide if this might work for you, here are some basic definitions and guidelines to keep in mind:
What is a Pet Trust?
A pet trust is a legally sanctioned arrangement providing for the care and maintenance of one or more companion animals in the event of a grantor’s disability or death. The “grantor” (also called a settlor or trustor in some states) is the person who creates the trust, which may take effect during a person’s lifetime or at death. Typically, a trustee will hold property (cash, for example) “in trust” for the benefit of the grantor’s pets. Payments to a designated caregiver(s) will be made on a regular basis. The trust, depending upon the state in which it is established, will continue for the life of the pet or 21 years, whichever occurs first. Some states allow a pet trust to continue for the life of the pet without regard to a maximum duration of 21 years. This is particularly advantageous for companion animals that have longer life expectancies than cats and dogs, such as horses and parrots.
Why a Pet Trust?
Because most trusts are legally enforceable arrangements, pet owners can be assured that their directions regarding their companion animal(s) will be carried out. A trust can be very specific. For example, if your cat only likes a particular brand of food or your dog looks forward to daily romps in the park, this can be specified in a trust agreement. If you want your pet to visit the veterinarian four times a year, this can also be included. A trust that takes effect during the life of the pet owner can provide instructions for the care of the animal(s) in the event the pet owner becomes incapacitated (sick, injured, comatose, etc.) Since pet owners know the particular habits of their companion animals better than anyone else, they can describe the kind of care their pets should have and list the person(s) who would be willing to provide that care.
Doing Your Homework
In addition to providing the name and address of a trustee and successor trustee, a caregiver and successor caregiver (all of whom can be corporations and/or individuals) you will be asked to provide enough information to:
Pet trusts can offer pet owners a great deal of flexibility and peace of mind. In the state where no pet law exists, however, or if a companion animal has a longer life expectancy, other arrangements must be considered in combination with or in lieu of a pet trust.
With locations in Coral Springs, Coconut Creek, and Boca Raton, the law firm of Margery E. Golant, P.A. serves South Florida including the communities of Deerfield Beach, Coral Springs, Coconut Creek, Margate, Lauderdale Lakes, Pompano Beach, Tamarac, Oakland Park, Lauderhill, Plantation, Sunrise, Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Dania Beach, Davie, Cooper City, Pembroke Pines, Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Boynton Beach, Lake Worth, Greenacres, West Palm Beach, Rivera Beach, North Palm Beach, Palm Beach Gardens and Jupiter, and most of South Florida including Broward and Palm Beach Counties. Areas Served
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