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How to Establish a Pet Trust

If the most important living creature in your life is your pet, you might consider establishing a pet trust to ensure his care when you are gone. A pet trust is similar to a trust you would bestow upon your children or nieces and nephews, and is a specific amount of money left behind for the pet’s care and well-being. In order to establish a pet trust, you must also name a caregiver to administer the money as appropriate, as well as a secondary caregiver in the event that the first cannot assume those duties.

Determine the Laws in Your State

Some states allow you to establish a pet trust, while other states do not sanction this practice. Talk to the lawyer handling your financial and legal affairs, and find out if you are permitted to set up a trust in the name of your pet. If not, you can always leave him to a resident of another state where trusts of this nature are allowed. There is always a way around these legal snafus.

Name a Caregiver and Trustee

Before you set up your pet trust, you’ll need to decide who will handle the financial matters and who will be responsible for caring for your pet once you are gone. Most people choose to appoint trustees and caregivers separately to ensure that their wishes are carried out, but the same person can handle both responsibilities. Make sure you ask those individuals you’ve named if they are comfortable with your decision.

Identify Your Pet

To avoid mix-ups or fraudulent activity, it is important to positively identify your pet before setting up a pet trust. A microchip is the currently fashionable way to do this, and consists of planting a chip in your pet’s body that a special scanner can read. You can also submit samples of your pet’s DNA for verification if this makes you feel more comfortable. Photographs or video tapes simply aren’t sufficient in these modern times.

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