The Importance of Pet Trusts: Don’t Forget About Fido!

Have you ever considered what would happen to your pets if they were to outlive you? What will happen if you unexpectedly need to go into a hospital?

One study by the ASPCA estimated that between 5 and 7 million companion animals enter shelters every year due to the death of their owners. This number could be drastically reduced with proper planning done by pet owners.

Our pets give us unconditional love and companionship, and we owe it to them to ensure their protection beyond our ability to do so. Sadly, most people don’t consider Fido when planning for their passing or incapacity. Massachusetts recognizes the validity of a “Pet Trust,” and ensures the continuing care of your four legged friends when needed.

What is a Pet Trust?

A Pet Trust is like a recipe book you leave behind which leaves specific instructions on how to care for your pet. It can contain information and instructions like your preferred veterinarian, special diets, certain required living conditions, etc. It is also similar to a contract, so that a Trustee, or a new pet care provider, is bound to the follow the terms you set out for the care of your pet, or risk being sued.

Who are the parties to a Pet Trust?

Obviously, Fido is a party; however, the rest is your decision. You could select one party as Trustee to take responsibility for just the finances of your furry companion, while another is the individual who has custody of the pet is the actual caretaker. These two people work together to ensure proper care and protection of your pet, but could also be the same person. Some Trusts are set up with yet a third individual, or a “Trust Protector” who works with the Trustee to ensure that the pet is receiving the best care possible from the caretaker. Any animal, from dogs and cats to reptiles or birds, can be protected by a Pet Trust.

How much money goes into a Pet Trust?

You’ll need to decide how much money is needed for the continuing care of your pet. Generally, people prefer to leave enough in the Trust so that their pet can live comfortably for the remainder of their lives; however, the exact amount is up to you. Upon the death of your pet, any remaining funds would be dispersed to named individuals, groups or charities of your choice. You can also add a provision in the Trust that states that if any other beneficiary challenges the Trust, they may lose their anticipated inheritance.

For further information on Trust like these, or other types of living Trusts, please contact our office.

Founded by a nurse attorney and with offices in Acton, Burlington, and Sudbury, Massachusetts, Generations Law Group helps families navigate the complex areas of estate planning, elder law, and probate to inform and protect loved ones of every generation.



Contact Our Office