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Caring for your pet after incapacity: Pet trusts

Not everything you do with your estate plan is going to be there for the time after your death. Some aspects of your estate plan will be there to protect you and those you care about during your lifetime.

One such aspect of your estate plan may be a pet trust. If you have a pet that you care for and want to make sure that it receives the care and attention it needs if you are incapacitated or pass away, establishing a pet trust is an excellent way to do so.

Pet trusts are unique because they specifically hold assets for your pet and, in some cases, for those caring for it. You can establish the trust to go into effect when you are incapacitated or after you pass away, depending on your goals, so that your pet always has the care it needs.

What are the primary benefits of a pet trust?

There are several benefits to having a pet trust, such as:

  • Controlling who can become the caregiver for your pet
  • Providing money or assets to those who provide adequate care for your pet
  • Requiring periodic inspections to make sure the caregiver is providing the requested care
  • Leaving behind instructions on how your pet should be cared for
  • Controlling the timing of payments for your pet’s care, such as only paying out $1,000 annually to the caregiver rather than several thousand up front

In the trust, you’ll be able to select a trustee, caregiver and pet beneficiary. You can leave behind care instructions and money to provide for your pet. With this in mind, it makes sense to set up a trust to protect your pet, so they can go on living the life they deserve even when you cannot be there to provide it.