Through a will, trust, and other estate documents, you help assure that your assets are properly allocated, and your family’s needs are addressed death or incapacity. But it is also important to assure the well-being of our pets who are such an important and beloved part of our lives.
New York is among 16 states that allow special trusts to assure that our pets are cared for. A pet trust is a legal arrangement that governs the care and maintenance of our companion animals if the pet’s owner or the trust’s creator, the grantor, dies or becomes incapacitated.
A trustee usually holds cash and other property in the trust for the benefit of the grantor’s pets. It assures that payments to a designated caregiver are regularly made.
This trust remains in effect for the pet’s life. This is especially beneficial when the pet is an animal with a long life such as a horse or parrot.
Through these trusts, pet owners can take steps to assure that their directions over their pets’ care are followed. Trust agreements can cover specific care issues such as the food provided to pets, frequency of veterinarian visits and who should care for the pet if their owner dies or becomes incapacitated.
Before a trust is drafted, it is important to gather the following information:
- The name and address of a trustee and successor trustee.
- A caregiver or successor caregiver.
- Adequate identification of your pets to prevent fraud such as photographs, microchips, DNA samples, or identification of your pets as a class owned by you when you die.
- Details on the pet’s standard of living and care.
- The amount of property or assets to adequately cover your pet’s care and standard of living.
- How funds should be allocated to the designated caregiver.
- The amount of property for adequate coverage of the pet trust’s administration.
- A remainder beneficiary who receives any pet trust funds that are not exhausted.
- The final disposition of your pet.
Your will can designate a caregiver for your pet in your will. It may also designate a reasonable amount of money for its care.
Attorneys can provide options and advice on these and other estate matters. They can also prepare estate documents that comply with New York law and meet your needs.