There are many things that you should consider so that your family and other close people in your life are protected after you die. Your estate planning should also include taking care of your pets who are another important part of your family.
Florida law allows the creation of a trust for the care of animals alive during their owner’s life. The trust ends when all the animals covered by the trust die. The trust’s creator, also known as the settlor, sets up this arrangement to assure that their pets are cared for if they die or become disabled.
A trustee is appointed who will hold cash or other property in trust for the pet’s benefit. Payments to the pet’s caregiver will be regularly made.
These trust usually designate an individual to serve as the animal’s caregiver. It can contain specific instructions for your pet or companion animal on matters such as their veterinarian care, favorite food, and exercise.
A trust should contain specific information to assure that it is effective. It must contain the names and addresses of a trustee to manage the trust, a successor trustee, a caregiver, and a successor caregiver. Individuals or corporations can serve as caregivers.
To prevent fraud, your pets should be clearly identified though photographs, microchips, or DNA samples. Pets may be identified as a class such as, for example, the pets you owned when you died or became ill.
The standard of living and care for your pet needs to be set forth in detail. Your trustee should conduct regular inspections of this care.
You should determine the amount of money to adequately cover the costs of your pet’s care and set forth how these funds should be distributed to the caregiver. This amount should not exceed a reasonable amount to maintain your pet’s standard of living. The amount of money to adequately cover the trust’s administration must also be determined.
The trust also needs instructions on your pet’s final disposition after their death such as burial or cremation. A remainder beneficiary should be designated if the trust funds are not exhausted in your pet’s lifetime.
An attorney can help select options that meet your needs. They can also draft estate documents that comply with Florida law and set forth your wishes.