Pet Trusts: Future Planning for Family Pets

Greenwald & Gerke Realty Team

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February 20, 2020

No doubt, you make plans for their care and feeding whenever you are away. But have you made plans for them should you ever become physically or mentally unable to continue caring for them yourself?

To do this right, you need to do some estate planning that includes provisions for your animal friend if you are ever incapacitated. If you do not, the courts will initiate steps to establish a legal guardianship over you. A judge will choose a guardian on your behalf. This person will then make all decisions regarding your money and property – including your pet.
The chosen guardian may or may not understand the bond and relationship you share with your pet. If they decide the pet is a burden on your estate, they could give the animal away, or even send them to a shelter! How can you prevent these possible outcomes and ensure your pet will be cared for in accordance with your wishes? Writing a will is only effective upon death, so that won’t help in this scenario.


Revocable Living Trust
In this trust document, you can provide instructions about how your pet should be cared for if you are incapacitated or die. The trustee is legally obligated to carry out the instructions. You can be very specific in this document, spelling out care details in depth including how much of your trust assets should be spent on food, veterinarian care, grooming, etc.

Durable Power of Attorney
By designating a person to act on your behalf if you lose faculty, you give that person the durable power to handle your finances and property as they see fit. They will then make all decisions about your pet. If you want more control over the decisions, set up a revocable living trust for your animal.


Real Estate Support in Retirement
At Greenwald & Gerke, we focus our real estate services on the needs of retirees. If your plans in retirement include buying or selling property, let us help. Call today at (844) 782-9674.

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We specialize in assisting aging adults and their families through the sale of a home by serving as a single point of contact for the comprehensive services.
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