There is no doubt we are a nation of pet lovers. Unfortunately, the law as it is currently written views pets as property, so providing for your pet in your will won’t work. So how do you protect your favorite fur-person? By creating a pet trust.
To create a pet trust, you should first discuss your wishes for your pet(s) with Pierchoski Estate Law so your pet trust will be executed properly and will be legally enforceable after you are gone. The Pierchoski family is no stranger to pets so we know exactly what these extended family members mean to you.
When planning for your pet trust, you should:
Choose someone to act as trustee. Be sure you discuss your intentions beforehand with your potential pet trustee to ensure they are both willing and able to carry out your wishes.
Choose a successor trustee. If your first choice for trustee is unable to act as trustee, a second person should be named as successor trustee. This is your back-up person in case the original trustee is unable or unwilling to take up the role.
Choose caregivers. Some people elect to name a financially responsible individual as trustee and another person as caregiver for their pet(s). Be sure to specify a primary and secondary caregiver.
Provide ID information. To help prevent fraud, you should include identification information in your pet trust, including photos of your pet(s) and microchip ID numbers.
Give care instructions. Provide care details for your pet(s), including how often they should be taken to the vet for check-ups, nutritional requirements and any other healthcare information.
Establish how much money is needed to care for your pet(s). You need to be realistic, because large amounts left for pets could be subject to a challenge from other heirs. Be sure to figure in the cost of trust administration as well.
Select a beneficiary. When the last pet you have provided for in your pet trust dies, you should name the person or entity that will receive the leftover funds in the trust.
Supply final instructions. Leave instructions for having your pet(s) buried or cremated.
Creating a pet trust, with all its flexibility, can give you peace of mind in knowing that your animal (or reptile) friend will be well taken care of if you are no longer there to provide for their daily needs.
A Note from the Attorney, Stan Pierchoski:
The practice of law is a second career for me. After obtaining Master of Science degrees in both Nuclear and Mechanical Engineering, I worked in the Nuclear Power Industry for 15 years. Always having an interest in law, I attended and graduated from law school and founded the Pierchoski Law Firm in 2002 in Pulaski, TN. For several years I practiced as a criminal defense, trial attorney. After my parents passed I became interested in Trust and Estate Law and felt a strong calling to change my practice to the Estate Planning area.
For years I have been exclusively doing trust writing and wealth planning and have become proficient at it. Over the last several years my practice has evolved to serve all age groups including elders and Medicaid Planning. I am always open to your questions and am more than happy to chat with you about your concerns so give me a call or stop by my office. You’ll be glad you did!