Kathryn T. Joseph & Associates, Inc.

How to set up a trust for the care of your pets

An increasing number of Americans are adding a pet to their homes. According to Statista, 68 percent of U.S. households own pets, which means there are 85 million homes in the country with pets.

Not only has pet ownership increased, but the way pets are viewed has changed too. In 2017, U.S. pet owners spent $69.4 billion on their pets. Many people have come to view their pets as members of the family.

Pets promote wellbeing

As people age, it is no surprise that pets continue to play an important part in their lives. According to The New York Times, studies indicate pets can decrease feelings of loneliness and stress, increase exercise and garner interaction with others. In other words, pets can increase quality of life. Some nursing homes have even begun to have a community pet because animals increase wellbeing and purpose for residents.

Likely anyone with a pet knows that all these things are true. Since pets do such a wonderful job of taking care of their owners, it is no wonder that many owners want to return the favor. While creating estate plans, a growing number of people are including care of their pets in those plans. One such option is creating a trust for your pet.

What is a trust?

A trust is an arrangement that sets aside money for a beneficiary, in case you become ill or pass away. With a pet trust, the beneficiary is your pet or pets. A trust ensures your wishes are carried out regarding the care of your pet. As the grantor, you set aside money for a trust, and appoint a trustee. For a pet trust, there is usually also a caregiver who also looks after your pet. The trustee then dispenses money to the caregiver per the conditions laid out in the trust agreement.

A trust is valid during your life and after your passing. In Ohio, the trust ends when your pet or pets pass away. It is also possible to designate another beneficiary for a trust, after your favorite animal moves on. This could be the caregiver, a favorite charity or whoever you deem worthy.

A trust can be very specific. If you are concerned about your pet receiving proper care, you can outline those instructions explicitly. You can include directives like those listed below.

  • Certain brand of food fed to your pet
  • Daily trips to the park
  • Number of walks per day/week
  • How often your pet visits the vet
  • Grooming instructions

You may also want to set up regular visits by the trustee to determine that the caregiver is providing your pet with the care laid out in the trust.

For animal lovers that consider pets a part of the family, setting up a pet trust may provide reassurance for the future. With a pet trust, you know your pet will be well cared for, no matter what happens to you.

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Kathryn T. Joseph & Associates, Inc.
Executive Commons West
29425 Chagrin Blvd.
Suite 305
Cleveland, OH 44122

Toll Free: 888-335-6650
Phone: 216-245-0504
Fax: 216-765-8817
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