Choosing a Caregiver for Your Pets
We have written before about how our clients can provide for their pets through the creation of a pet trust. This trust works basically like any other trust. Our clients deposit money or assets into a trust and designate that they should be used for the benefit of their pets. A pet trust can also contain instructions for taking care of your pets, such as the name of the vet they should go to and any schedules for exercise or feeding.
However, choosing the right person to take care of your pets is complicated. Below, our estate planning attorney in The Villages helps you understand the relevant considerations.
Decide whether to Split Pets Up
Many people have more than one pet, and you should decide whether you want to keep them together. If the pets have known each other since they were young, then keeping them together makes sense. However, if your dog and cat hate each other, then there’s no reason to worry about leaving them to different people.
Choose a Caretaker who Likes Your Pets
You never know whether your dog, cat, bunny, or other pet will hit it off with someone. The best bet is to have the caregiver spend some time with your animals. Observe them. Does your pet get along well with this person? Does this person like your pets?
If your preferred caregiver also has pets, then you need to check how well they mix together. If they don’t get along, then you likely need to choose a different caretaker.
Pick a Caregiver who is Responsible
You are hoping that the caregiver will follow your instructions after you die. Taking care of an animal is a lot of work, and many people might claim that they would love to have your pets but will soon find it very difficult.
Often, the best caregiver is someone who has had pets previously or has them now. This person should understand what they are signing up for. Look to see how healthy this person’s pets appear and whether they look well-fed.
Choose a Caregiver who is Different from Your Trustee
If you create a trust, then the trustee is the person who manages the trust assets for the benefit of your pet. You should choose someone who is responsible with money.
The trustee will also make sure that the caregiver is following the instructions left in the trust. If they don’t, the trustee can remove them and install someone more appropriate.
For this reason, you probably should not make the caregiver the trustee. Though this might save you money, you will lose out on the protection of having the trustee supervise the caregiver.
Contact an Elder Law Attorney Today
Millhorn Elder Law Planning Group has drafted many pet trusts, and we can help our clients provide for their pets’ future. If you have questions, or if you would like to add a pet trust to your estate plan, please contact us. We offer a free consultation to those who call 800-743-9732.