When planning their estates, most people consider provisions that take into account their family and friends, but people often fail to make arrangements for loved ones that fall somewhere in between: their pets. Dogs, cats, horses, birds, reptiles, rodents, and amphibious friends can also be provided for in estate documents. Florida Statute 736.0408 allows individuals to create trusts specifically to care for animals that the owner predeceases. The statute specifically allows individuals to:
- Provide for the care of an animal or animals alive during the settlor’s lifetime;
- Appoint an individual to enforce the trust for the animal(s);
- Ensure that money set aside for the animal(s) will only be used for that purpose.
How an individual sets up this trust will have important implications for the health and happiness of a surviving pet. When establishing a pet trust, some important considerations are:
- Who to designate as caregiver, as well as any successors;
- Who to designate as trustee, as well as any successors;
- What funds to set aside;
- What specific provisions to include to ensure your pet is well cared for;
- And, of course, as with all estate planning matters, there are tax considerations as well.
To ensure that you have made adequate provisions for your loved ones – even the four legged and furry – you should consult an experienced attorney. If you or someone you know lives in the West Palm, Fort Lauderdale, or Miami-Dade area and want to create a will or trust in order to provide for your pets, the team at Chepenik Trushin will help you with any such estate planning needs. Please feel free to contact us for an initial first consultation.