Naperville Estate Planning Lawyer Talks About Pet Trusts

pet trust, Naperville estate planning attorneyAltogether, Americans own approximately 80 million dogs and 86 million cats. For many of these pet owners, their pet is not considered a piece of property but instead a valued member of the family. If you have pets, it is important to consider them while you make your estate plan. Although it is a difficult question, every pet owner should ask themselves about what should happen to their pet if they are incapacitated or pass away.

One option is an estate planning tool called a pet trust. A pet trust can ensure that your pet will be adequately cared for and loved, even if you cannot be the one to do so.

How Does a Pet Trust Work?

A trust is a legal arrangement that holds property or assets for a length of time until they are given to the beneficiary. Generally, the beneficiary of an estate planning trust receives this property when the creator of the trust passes away. For many pet lovers, their pet seems more human than animal, but the law still treats dogs, cats, horses, birds, and other pets as property. An individual cannot leave money or property to an animal they way they could give an inheritance to a person. Fortunately, a pet trust provides a legally enforceable way to guarantee that a pet lives out the rest of its life with the same level of care its owner would have provided.

How Can a Pet Trust Benefit Me and My Family?

A pet trust is beneficial in a multitude of ways. Firstly, it helps hasten the process of relocating the animal upon the pet owner’s death or incapacitation. A pet trust will leave instructions as to who will care for the pet and what environment it should live in. There will be no confusion about who should look after the now-ownerless pet. Without a pet trust, the fate of pets may be determined during probate. This legal process validates and verifies a deceased person’s will and can sometimes be a very lengthy process. A pet trust guarantees that a pet does not get lost in the confusion and left without a suitable home. In addition, a pet trust can be set up to dispense payments to a trustee who uses these funds for the pet’s food, shelter, medical needs, and recreation.

Contact a Naperville Estate Planning Attorney for Help

If you have further questions about pet trusts or other estate planning needs, contact the experienced Naperville estate planning attorneys at The Gierach Law Firm. Call 630-756-1160 to schedule a confidential consultation today.

 

Sources:

ASPCA

Illinois State Bar Association