Using a pet trust in estate planning

While ensuring that their assets and loved ones are taken care of in the event of their death,Georgia residents might also want to make provisions for their pets. Without these arrangements, a pet could end up at a shelter or in another situation that is not ideal.

A durable power of attorney for pet care can allow someone to care for the pet on the owner's behalf. People can carry a wallet card that notifies people in the case of death or incapacity that there are pets at home that need to be cared for. The card could contain information about who should be contacted to take care of them so they do not go several days without food or water. Over the longer term, additional provisions need to be made. Naming who will care for pets in a will may not be sufficient since the pets need care before the probate process is complete. Furthermore, with a will, there is no oversight regarding pet care.

A pet trust can be set up separately, or it can be part of an overall trust. With a pet trust, it is possible to specify how the pet should be cared for and to leave money for its care. This creates a fiduciary obligation for the trustee and the named caretaker. Successor caretakers may also be named.

There may be a number of other ways that trusts can function in an estate plan as well. A trust can allow a person to control when distributions are made to beneficiaries or can give that control to a trustee. This may be helpful if a beneficiary is irresponsible or has a substance abuse problem. In some cases, the beneficiary may simply be young, and the trust owner may want to tie distributions to milestones like birthdays or graduation.

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