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Do you need a pet trust?

Your pet is an important part of your family and deserves to be cared for long after you pass away. Fortunately, the law recognizes this important relationship. While there are a number of ways one might provide for a pet through an estate plan, creating a pet trust provides some of the best protections and flexibility available to pet owners.

A will can only do so much to guarantee your pet's ongoing care. However, a pet trust can place a legal duty on the person who receives your pet, compelling that person to not only care for the pet but also to follow your specified preferences in that care.

A pet trust allows the creator of the trust to specify who should take the pet after he or she passes away or becomes incapacitated, which is crucial. However, many more concerns can be expressed and enforced through such a trust. A pet owner can use the trust to determine multiple parties who may share responsibility for a pet (or multiple pets), for instance. The trust can also include instructions for things like grooming care and dietary preferences, as long as the trust also provides the resources required to meet these needs.

In addition, a pet trust is far more complicated to challenge than a traditional will. If you suspect that other potential beneficiaries may object to your provisions for your pet, a pet trust can protect your pet from family and beneficiary in-fighting after you pass on. Similarly, you can use the trust to make your wishes clear about how the caretaker should address the end of the pet's life, when that time comes.

If you believe that a pet trust might be a good fit for you, don't hesitate to speak with an experienced estate planning attorney. An experienced Florida estate planning attorney can help you create a strong trust that ensures the ongoing care of the pet you love, even after you are gone.

Source: Findlaw, "Pet Trust," accessed Sep. 15, 2017

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