Washington residents consider their pets to be beloved family members. You can keep them safe with your estate planning efforts. One way to do that is to create a pet trust.
Understanding pet trusts
A pet trust is a legal tool used to protect your pet after you’re gone. It takes effect after you have passed away and applies to your surviving pet.
There are different aspects of a pet trust. You name a trusted person who will become the animal’s caretaker once you are no longer around. This person will be responsible for all of your pet’s needs, so it’s crucial to ensure that you choose wisely. It should be someone who has a true bond with your pet. You will want to name an alternate caretaker in the event that your first choice dies or is otherwise unable to perform their duties.
Choosing an amount for your pet’s care
When funding a pet trust, take care to estimate how much money might be needed to leave the caretaker to care for your pet. How much you leave depends on your pet’s age and health. In other words, if you have an older dog or cat, you might not need too large an amount of money. However, if your pet is a certain type of parrot that’s around 20 years old, you might need to leave more because some can live well past 50.
Challenges to pet trusts
Pet trusts are not usually challenged in court, but it could happen. If you leave a large amount of money in the trust, a relative might argue that it’s too much for an animal and that they should receive a larger inheritance.