Friday, November 7, 2008

At Wills, Trusts, and Estates blog a great article about Pet Trusts - -America gets what it wants: Pet Trusts and a future for its companion animals By Breahn Vokolek

American Pet Product Manufacturers Association estimates that 63% of American households own a pet. Yes we love our pets! And in America pets are more than ever considered to be part of the family.

The development of pet trusts is a result of the failures of other alternatives to meet American pet owners’ need to provide for their animals. Unfortunately pets are often overlooked in the confusion associated with unexpected sickness or death. Many end up in a shelter.

“Legal disputes over property can ad delay to the distribution of the property, which includes companion animals. Living pets cannot be stored, unlike other property, while the details are resolved.”

One alternative to the pet trusts involves the outright gift of the animal to a pet retirement home. This alternative is usually available only for dogs and cats.
Here's one I found through the AARP web site, but there are lots of others. This one truly pampers your pet. Check this out!

Our estates pets will be allowed to socialize and play outside on the premises throughout the day. Playtime includes swimming, boating, hiking and many other outside & inside activities. Senior citizens are welcome for visitation, which is therapeutic to both pets and seniors.

Living arrangements are all custom designed to enhance the lifestyle of your pets. Condo units overlooking pond includes enclosed porch, living quarters, and play area, providing your family's pets with the comforts of home. Condos include a TV and VCR , for daily viewing of pets and family videos. Pets can relax to music from the stereo along with their heated beds.

(It's probably real pricey.) If you can't leave Fido in the lap of luxury, maybe you can leave him with a friend.

One can attempt to create a moral obligation by making a gift to a caretaking fund that is contingent on the caretaker using the funds for the benefit and care of the animals, but they are difficult to enforce. Once the estate has been probated continuing control or accountability for the care of your pets virtually ends.

Pet trusts can solve many of these potential problems. Unlike a will, a trust can provide for your pet immediately and apply not only if you die, but also in the event of your incapacity.

Usually a trust is established through a written legal document and often involves a Trust Agreement which explains how the assets are to be managed and distributed.

The court’s handling of pet trusts has been varied, but several states, including Utah, have enacted statutes recognizing valid pet. Utah’s pet trust is found in Utah Code Ann. Section 75-2-1001.

The statute reserves for the court the right to reduce the amount in the pet trust if it determines that the amount substantially exceeds the that required for the intended use. This is what the court did in the case of the 12 million dollar pet trust of Leona Helmsley estate we wrote about in an earlier story...

Today a pet trust can be sixty pages and cost thousands in legal fees. It is reported that Betty White will leave all of her five mill dollar estate to her pets. She's a real animal lover.Others leave just enough to cover vet bills and compensate the new caretaker.

Changing views and attitudes are making pet trusts increasingly popular in the U.S. An estimated 12 to 27 percent of pet owners include their pets in their estate planning. The development of pet trusts has been extraordinarily fast and is serving a growing need. The increasing desire of American’s to provide for their pets after their own death is widely shared and deeply emotional. If you live in Utah and want more information about how to set up a trust email us at
More information at Others can get information at the web site of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals ASPCA.

No comments: