Estate Planning for Fido
Pets are often thought of as a member of the family and very important to us. However, it is usually difficult to find someone who wants to take care of your pet when you leave town for a week, let alone upon your untimely death. Although you can leave a pet to someone in your Last Will and Testament, this can be burdensome for the beneficiary and there is no guarantee that such beneficiary will properly care for the pet. A pet trust is a great way to provide funds for your family members to find someone to take care of the family pet.
In 2007, Florida Statutes Section 738.0408 was added to provide that a trust may be created to provide for the care and maintenance of one or more pets in the event of their owner’s disability or death. A pet trust can become effective either during the grantor’s lifetime or after their death.
The person who creates the trust is commonly referred to as the ‘grantor’. The person who is entrusted with taking care of the animals and the funds is called the ‘trustee’. In Florida the pet trust terminates on the death of the animal or, if the trust was created to provide for the care of more than one animal alive during the grantor’s lifetime, on the death of the last surviving animal. Typically, a trustee will hold cash “in trust” for the grantor’s pet or pets. The trustee is responsible to use the cash to care for the pets or make payments to a designated caregiver of the pets.
Important: If you would like to ensure that your pet is properly taken care of after your death, then you should contact your attorney to discuss a pet trust.