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A trust meant for your pets

When the wealthy fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld left quite the fortune for his cat, many people were a little more than surprised. Some even called it ridiculous.

While the situation surrounding Lagerfeld's cat may be extreme, it is not uncommon. In fact, setting up a plan for pets can be a valuable way for Iowa families to make sure pets receive the care they need.

 

What does a pet trust do?

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) explains the general pet trust laws that allow pet owners to create a trust that provides care for their pets if they are no longer able. The finances within the trust help pay for:

  • Care essentials, including food and grooming
  • Veterinary care and visits
  • Miscellaneous pet care expenses, such as toys

Like any other trust, a pet trust designates a trustee who holds these finances until they are needed.

Things to consider in a pet trust

There are various details that pet owners should consider when setting up a pet trust, including:

  • Who they want to care for their pet: Deciding on a trustee and caretaker can be a challenge. For a pet trustee, it may be helpful to consider how the person treats animals, whether they know the pet already as well as if they have pets of their own.
  • What instructions they should include: Caring for our pets becomes second nature. Not many people think about the process unless they are leaving town for a vacation. However, a trust can be as specific as the creator wishes it to be. So, they can provide specific care instructions that the trustee must follow.
  • How long the pet will live: As much as we do not want to think about the end of our lives, we also do not want to think about our pets passing away. However, determining a pet's life span can help a pet owner calculate how much money to include in the trust.
  • What to do with the money afterward: Pet trusts generally terminate when the pet passes away. And if the money was meant for pet care, what should happen to it? Pet owners can determine where any leftover money should go in the trust.

Many pet owners think of their animal companions as members of their family. And adding a pet trust to an estate plan can help them provide for all family members.

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