What will happen to your dog after you die?

Trust Documents

Some Things You need to Know.


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What will happen to your pet after you die?

What happens to your Pet after you dieEver thought about what will happen to your dog, cat, fish, horse, etc you die?  The easiest way to make sure that your pets are cared for is to set up a trust for their benefit.  With a pet trust, you can leave money to be used for the care of your dog or other animal. You put someone in charge of managing and spending it, following a written set of instructions that you provide.

How to set up a Pet Trust?

You can set up a Pet Trust just like setting up any other Trust.  You can fill out the questionnaire here.  If you run into questions, our attorneys are always here to help.  But you probably won’t need to turn the whole job over to our experts.

How does a Pet Trust work?

What happens to my DogGenerally, most trusts for pets are written so that they take effect when the owner dies. However, the trust must address several issues relating to the pet.

It is important to note that you can only create a trust to provide for the care of one or more animals that are alive DURING your lifetime. The trust ends when the last surviving animal dies. That means you can’t set up a pet trust to continue indefinitely.  For example, you can’t set up a trust to continue to care for the offspring of your current pet or others that the caretaker might acquire.

1. Who will be your pet’s caretaker? This is probably one of the most important question you must consider in setting up your trust.  Just because you want your spouse or best friend to take care of Fido, that doesn’t mean they are willing to take on that responsibility. This person will have custody of your pet and will responsible for day-to-day care. Ask them first. Always name an alternate in case your first choice can’t take the pet when the time comes.

2. How much money is needed to take care of the animal? This is an amount of money to be used for the animal’s care. Do the best you can to estimate how much the caretaker will need to take care of your pet. The appropriate amount varies widely depending on the pet’s age and condition. If you set aside an amount that’s ridiculously high, your family members could challenge it in court, and a judge will likely reduce it. For example, Leona Hemsley passed away in 2007.  Before she died, she constructed a trust that left her Maltese dog named Trouble 12 million dollars.  She left her 2 grandchildren out of her Will on purpose.  The probate judge reduced Trouble’s portion down to $2 million (which is still an exuberant amount of money to use to care for a dog) and $6 million to her grandchildren who were disinherited and the remainder to charity. Please know that pets are considered property. This means they can’t inherit money directly — but an owner can designate a trustee and a caretaker to use the money explicitly for their pet’s benefit. Hence, a trust (which you can do here on Flexicarta.com)

3. Caretaking instructions. You can detail how you wish the caregiver to take care of your pet by clearly writing out your instructions.  Afterall, your dog can’t tell your caregiver what they need or like.  You can even specify your dog’s favorite food, toys, sleeping arrangements, etc.

What happens with the leftover money after the animal dies?  If you leave more money than is necessary, where do you want the rest to go? It could go to family, a charity—it’s your choice.