Friday, January 8, 2016

Pet Trusts for your Best Friend

They are there for you every morning when you wake up and every night before you go to sleep. They unconditionally love you and light up every time you walk into a room or arrive home from a long day. They are always there to comfort you and have a way of cheering you up when you are down. They bring you so much joy and love. Yes, its your beloved pet.

Legally speaking, your pets are personal property.  But when you pass, your fuzzy companion should be treated differently than the artwork on your walls or the dining room table your daughter has been eyeing. You should take the time to spell out who will be responsible for your best friend because any pet, big or small, is a lot of work, and will need extra love to deal with the transition of life without you.

What a Pet Trust does

Pet trusts let you set aside money to pay for your pet’s care and appoints a caretaker. When the time comes, you’ll leave detailed instructions for how your pet’s medical or other needs will be handled. You can make sure your pet is going to the right home where you know it will be treated and loved the way you would like.

Legal Documents for your Pet - Will vs. Pet Trust

Wills distribute your property, and because your pet is considered personal property, you can will your beloved pet to anyone of your choosing. The problem is that a will is not enacted immediately so you can not be sure who will look after your animal during the waiting period. I addition, wills do not have provisions for your incapacity, so who will take care of your animal during your life if you are unable to? Lastly, a will does not provide for funds to be distributed for a pet’s care during its lifetime, so there’s no promise that the money set aside for the care of your animal will go towards its care.

A Pet trust has many advantages over a will.

  • Pet trusts are valid during the pet owner’s life and death.
  • Pet trusts can help avoid problems with substantial and involved estates. Pet trusts are particularly useful if the client expects a contest to the estate.
  • Pet trusts and pet protection agreements control the disbursement of funds exactly as you see fit.
  • Pet trusts allow for an investment trustee. A trust protector (separate from the pet guardian or trustee) can be appointed to invest funds with a view toward growth of the principal and future use on behalf of the pet, heirs, and charitable recipients.
  • Pet trusts and pet protection agreements allow provisions for incapacity. Pet trusts and pet protection agreements can ensure that the you and your pet will remain together in the event that you to a nursing home or other long-term care facility.

Without a pet trust or protection plan in place you can not be sure that your animal will be well taken care of and even worse end up in an animal shelter.

Facts About U.S Animal Shelters

According to ASPCA “There are about 13,600 community animal shelters nationwide that are independent; there is no national organization monitoring these shelters. The terms “humane society” and “SPCA” are generic; shelters using those names are not part of the ASPCA or the Humane Society of the United States. Currently, no government institution or animal organization is responsible for tabulating national statistics for the animal protection movement. These are national estimates; the figures may vary from state to state.

  • Approximately 7.6 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year. Of those, approximately 3.9 million are dogs and 3.4 million are cats.
  • Each year, approximately 2.7 million animals are euthanized (1.2 million dogs and 1.4 million cats).
  • Approximately 2.7 million shelter animals are adopted each year (1.4 million dogs and 1.3 million cats).
  • About 649,000 animals who enter shelters as strays are returned to their owners. Of those, 542,000 are dogs and only 100,000 are cats.
  • Of the dogs entering shelters, approximately 35% are adopted, 31% are euthanized and 26% of dogs who came in as strays are returned to their owner.
  • Of the cats entering shelters, approximately 37% are adopted, 41% are euthanized, and less than 5% of cats who came in as strays are returned to their owners.

About twice as many animals enter shelters as strays compared to the number that are relinquished by their owners.”

See more about what the ASPCA has to say about animal homelessness and pet statistics.


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