How to Make Sure Your Beloved Pet Is Cared for After Your Death
For many people who are older and whose kids have long moved away, their pets become their most important companions. Loyal and kind, owning a pet offers people the benefit of companionship as well as health benefits. Most Americans own a pet. To be sure, according to the National Pet Owners Survey, as of 2018, 68% of United States families today own a pet. Pet ownership has risen 56% since 1988. Indeed, pets are becoming a more integrated part of the lives of American families.
But what happens to your pet when you die? If you have family members, they might take your pet after your death. For those without family members, or those whose family members cannot take care of your pet, making an estate plan ensures your pet’s care after your death.
How Do I Care for My Pet After My Death Under Florida Law?
In years past, Florida residents could not name a pet as a beneficiary of a trust. Now, however, people can make a plan for their pet’s care after their death by using a Florida pet trust. First, we will define the different terms involved in creating a pet trust.
- The caretaker is the person that you as the pet owner’s name to care for your pet after your death. You can also set up the trust in a way that if you become incapacitated, the trust will allow the caretaker to care for your pet.
- You will appoint a trustee or trustees who have a legal duty to ensure that the caretaker is taking care of your pet. The trustees will also make sure that the money you allocated will go directly towards the care of your pet.
- You can appoint a trust protector whom you designate to remove the trustee for not following your trust instructions. As your pet cannot speak for him or herself, a trust protector may be necessary to make sure the terms of the trust are carried out.
- As the pet owner, you can also appoint an animal care panel with veterinarians who will monitor the health of your pet for you.
Part of making sure your pet is taken care of is to evaluate the expenses of caring for your pet honestly. You need to consider the cost of veterinary expenses, food expenses, pet daycare, and grooming costs as well as a compensation amount for the caretaker. If you plan on the caretaker moving into your home to care for your pet, make sure you include money for the upkeep of your home.
Do You Have Questions About Setting Up a Trust for Your Pet? We Are Here to Help
Our experienced St. Petersburg trust planning attorneys are here to help you. The attorneys at Legacy Protection Lawyers in Saint Petersburg know how much you love your pet and the comfort that having a plan set in place can bring. We are here to help you make the best decisions to care for them. Contact our law office today to set up your consultation.