You are your pet’s world. Now imagine if you weren’t around to take care of them anymore and didn’t make arrangements for their care. Unless a friend or family member takes ownership, we’re talking shelters...or worse. (Those stories out of the Sochi Olympics where stray dogs were being shot have made us ill.)
Don’t get sad because there’s something you can do to protect your fluffy companion that’s starting to gain in popularity. It's called a Pet Trust.
Nine-percent of pet owners have included their pets in their Will, according to the Wall Street Journal. This is up from 5-percent in 2010, which demonstrates how pets are considered members of the family and, apart from belly rubs, require care and love after you’re gone.
How Do You Leave Money To A Pet?
Since dogs and cats are considered property in America, and they’re also terrible with money--they just paw at it for a while or chew it up--you have to create a Pet Trust. According to the ASPCA 46 states allow this, which means four states must hate puppies and kitties (we’re looking at you Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota and Mississippi).
The WSJ succinctly explains why a Trust is the best and most reliable way to go:
“The advantage of a trust is that it is administered by a trustee, who is appointed by the pet owner and is legally obligated to act in the animal's best interest and to ensure the owner's wishes are carried out, says Frances Carlisle, a trust and estates attorney in New York. The trustee pays the pet's bills and oversees the performance of its caretaker. (Trustees can double as caretakers.)”
A Trust doesn’t only have to apply to death. You can create one that will care for your pet if you get in an accident or suffer an illness.
The best time to set up a Pet Trust is when you’re doing your Will with an attorney, or you can get started right now by creating a Pet Protection Plan at Legalzoom.com starting at $39. Be sure and work out a basic budget of how much you spend each year on food, veterinarian bill, treats and other expenses to get an idea of how much you should put aside. If there’s any money left over after your beloved furry cutie shuffles off to the big dog run/carpeted perch in the sky, it can be donated to a charity or left to a person (perhaps the kind soul who provided the forever home).