What is a pet trust and how can establishing one help you take care of your furry friends? For many of us, a pet is a true part of the family. There are proven health benefits to owning a pet like an increase in your physical activity and more social interaction. Pets provide valuable companionship to older adults and lower stress and anxiety levels. We all think about including and caring for our human family members in our estate plan, and we must plan for our beloved pets as well.
With so many animal lovers out there, including our Hurley Elder Care Law team, planning and making provisions for pets is a top priority for many of our clients. There are several ways to include your pets in your Life Care Plan.
Creating a Pet Trust
In 2010, the Georgia Legislature enacted a law allowing for the creation of trusts for animals. This trust, more commonly referred to as a pet trust, creates a legal relationship between the pet owner, trustee, and the pet. This type of trust allows you to leave money behind for your pet’s care, as well as state what your wishes are regarding the pet’s quality of life, who will care for the pet, and where the pet will live.
Pet Trusts are a Relatively New Area of Estate Planning so Working with a Qualified Attorney is Critical
Why was it necessary to create a special statute in 2010? Because in common law, a non-human cannot be a beneficiary.
An attorney will make sure your trust specifically states how funds will be distributed if any are left over after your death. Your attorney will help you identify suitable backups for all positions whether they be family, friends, or independent organizations. There are several wonderful organizations out there, including Lifeline Animal Project and Best Friends. Also, Transitions Pet Care is a nonprofit which serves the pets of people who are terminally ill, chronically ill, injured, or elderly in the Atlanta area.
Your Hurley Elder Care Law attorney will help you evaluate your finances, your pet, and the anticipated level of care they require to help you determine how much money you will need to fund your pet’s trust. If your pet is a 14-year-old cat, you may need to designate less than you would if you have three Westminster Dog Show finalists or a Kentucky Derby winner!
For example, an owner creating a pet trust may say that they want to leave $10,000 in trust to be used to care for their 5-year-old dog, Buddy. The pet owner may also state they wish for the pet to live with their nephew, John, but if John cannot care for Buddy, then they wish for him to go to a no-kill animal shelter so that he can be rehomed.
Pet trusts are a great way to ensure that your animal is cared for, and you have peace of mind knowing your furry friend will be in good hands.
Aging Alone and Worried About What Will Happen to Your Pet?
We ask our clients to complete comprehensive information regarding their pets. We have assisted our clients in various ways including helping them identify long-term care facilities that allow pets, to rehoming pets after our clients have passed.
Please call our office to discuss a pet trust and how to incorporate them into your life care plan.
Follow us on social media and subscribe to our blog for additional information and updates!
At Hurley Elder Care Law, we are committed to helping our clients find, get, and pay for good long-term care. For more information on how an elder law attorney can assist your family, please visit our website or call our office at (404) 843-0121 for a complimentary telephone consultation. We look forward to hearing from you and serving your family!
Subscribe to our blog and monthly newsletter.