What is a Pet Trust Fund?

List: Posted: 08/11/11

Pet owners love their animals, almost as much as they love the humans in their lives.  Many owners are now considering a pet trust for their animal companions.


Why not plan what would happen to your pet in the case of your death, just as you'd do for your child?  A trust is simply a legal arrangement made through a lawyer or attorney that places money into an account used specifically for taking care of the animal after the owner dies.  The beneficiary of the trust is the pet in question.


You will need to have a trustee who will manage all of the assets and make sure that they are used to care for the pet.  The trustee, in most cases, cannot be the same person who is going to be taking care of the animal.  The trustee distributes the money as needed to the caregiver.  This ensures that the animal receives quality care and that the money is used for its intended purpose.  The value of the trust can’t be too high, or else the court may reduce the amount.


Some people believe that only the wealthy use pet trusts.  It's common to remember Leona Helmsley, a billionaire who had a fund worth millions for her pet.  In fact, it was so high that the court stepped in and reduced the amount from $12 million to $2 million.


However, it isn’t only the rich who use these trusts.  If you want to make sure that your pet has the care that it needs after you die, and that it doesn’t end up in a shelter, then a trust might be a good idea.  You just want to make sure that the humans you leave behind have the care they need as well!

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