For most pet owners, the wellbeing and happiness of their animals is a priority – but how can you ensure that they are cared for in the event of your passing or incapacity? This is a serious concern for many clients and, fortunately, there is a solution, say New Jersey estate planning attorneys.
What is an animal care trust?
Similar to a trust that you’d set up to provide for your family, an animal or pet trust is designed to do the same for your beloved animals. Since 2002, U.S. laws have been modified to include ways in which people can leave money in their estate to care for their animals. One of the primary reasons for these changes is due to the increasing amount of animals landing in shelters after their owners have passed away. This is a sad and unnecessary occurrence when owners had the means and wish to keep on caring for them.
Unlike a Last Will and Testament that has to go through probate (so the money won’t be available for a fair amount of time), trusts allow your appointed trustee (or trustees) to start providing for your pet immediately.
The main benefit of the trust, however, is that it is legally enforceable – unlike a Will. At any point during your pet’s lifetime, the courts will be able to set in and enforce your stipulations if the trustee is not living up to their obligations. This prevents people who inherit a pet through a Will from simply handing it in to a shelter after the probate process is complete. If you don’t have a trustee who is able to take your pet, you can also use the trust to ensure that it is provided for in a retirement home for pets – an increasingly popular option.
Pet trusts aren’t just for the wealthy
While pet trusts do carry a cost, especially if you want your attorney or professional representative to administer the trust, they are generally within the budget of regular pet owners. Typically, animal trust clients are older and don’t necessarily have someone to take care of their animal in the event that they are no longer able. Other clients include people with multiple pets who incur considerable costs to care for – for example, horse owners.
Speak to an estate planning attorney about creating an animal trust today
At Sedita, Campisano and Campisano in New Jersey, estate planning attorney Frank Campisano is ready to assist you with all your estate planning needs – whether you need to make a Last Will and Testament, Power of Attorney, a Living trust or a pet trust, or to update your current documents.
Contact us today and let us deliver expert estate planning advice to take care of all your wishes – whether your estate is big or small.