Pet Legacy Trusts™
Common Questions

Why do I need a pet trust if I have instructions in my Will stating who will take care of my pet?

Wills have limitations as they are used to state how your assets will be distributed upon your death. They typically do not specify how the pet will be cared for or provide funding for the care of your pet. It is also important to recognize that it may take weeks, months or even years for a court to probate and implement your Will after your death, potentially leaving your pet as an orphan or in a state of limbo. Furthermore, the majority of U.S. states do not allow you to leave money directly for the care of your pet unless a legal trust is established and managed by a Trustee. One last consideration is that a Will does not protect your pet should you become disabled, whereas the Pet Legacy Trust does. That’s why a Pet Legacy Trust is so important. It can be created as an independent document or in support of your Will, and it allows you to designate who will care for your pet, the type of care they should receive, and the appropriate funding required to care for your pet after your death or disability. Plus you’ll have peace of mind knowing that your pet will be rescued immediately should the unexpected happen to you with our unique Pet Alert system.

What if I have multiple pets?

If you have one or two pets that require similar care by the same Caretaker and Trustee team, then one Pet Legacy Trust will cover both pets with no additional costs. If you would like to include three or more pets in your Pet Legacy Trust, simply add $50 for each additional pet beyond the first two. However, if you have one pet going to one Caretaker or Trustee and another going to a different Caretaker or Trustee, then you will need to create a separate Pet Legacy Trust for each pet.

Does the Pet Legacy Trust cover all pets?

Yes, as long as they are part of your pet family and listed in your trust document, they are covered. The Pet Legacy Trust is especially beneficial should you have pets requiring expensive care regiments or long-life pets including horses and exotic birds which can be difficult for a family member to adopt in your absence. Or perhaps you are worried that your pet will outlive you and you do not wish to burden your family or friends with the care of your beloved pet.

Can I designate the same person to act as my pet’s Caretaker and Trustee?

While a few states do allow this arrangement, we have found that pet owners feel their pets receive the best care when a separate person is responsible for their pet’s care and another person manages the trust and financial decisions. This is a proven “checks and balances” system to protect your wishes when you are no longer here to act on your pet’s behalf.

Do I need to do anything to make my pet trust a legally binding document?

While most of the work will have been completed when you receive your Pet Legacy Trust, you must complete the last steps: funding, signing in front of a Notary, and properly maintaining the information within your pet trust. Our helpful instructions and worksheets simplify each of these steps for you.

How much does it cost to fund the pet trust and do I need to write a check right away?

There are many ways to fund the trust. One of the easiest is to name your pet trust as the beneficiary in one or more of your financial accounts or insurance policies. This eliminates the need to tie up your cash and the trust is only funded when you are gone and the money is needed to care for your pets. Should there be any remaining funds in your trust later when your pet passes on, you can predefine an organization of your choice (often a non-profit pet or animal organization) where the remaining funds will be donated as a memorial in their honor. You can also attach a savings account to the pet trust to cover your pet’s care should you become disabled. Specific instructions and options are explained in your funding instructions. We also recommend that you consult with an attorney or financial professional should you have further questions.

What if I need to make changes or add a pet to my pet trust?

No problem, we recognize that situations change so we provide a Perpetual Trust Maintenance Program™ for an additional $100.00 to allow you to make changes to your pet trust up to four times while the trust is still active (essentially while your pet is still alive). Each time you make changes, you will receive an updated trust document for your records. Without the maintenance program, this service would cost $50.00 for each set of changes or $200.00 plus. Once you are enrolled in the maintenance program, you may change your Caretaker, Trustee, pet care instructions, pet end of life instructions, and your personal information. You can even add another pet to your pet trust for an additional $50.00 as long as one or more of the original pets are still alive and included in your trust. Without the maintenance program, you would be required to create a new Pet Legacy Trust at full retail price whenever a new pet is added.

Other questions? Contact us anytime.

 

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