Texas Statutory Pet Trust
Many people think about the kind of life their loving pets will have when they as pet owners get incapacitated or die. What usually happens when there is no plan for the pet is that the pet ends up in a shelter or gets adopted by a family member. Fortunately, you can include your dog’s needs in your estate planning to ensure that your dog’s quality of life will not be affected upon your death or disability. An estate planning attorney can draw up a master plan that will provide for your dog’s food, shelter, and health.
Providing For Your Pet In Your Estate Plan
Since states have different estate planning laws, you need to look at your state law to see how to create a comprehensive plan for your pet. But you need to know that the law does not consider your pet as a companion or family member but as personal property. The only options you have are to either include your pet in your last will and testament or create a trust for your pet.
Including Your Dog In Your Will
Since you consider your pet to be a member of your family, it is understandable that you want to include the pet in your will. But a will has to go through probate for it to take effect, which means that your pet will not get immediate attention after you are no longer living. Another problem with wills is that they only become active after you die. That means that if you become incapacitated or fall seriously ill, your pet will not get the kind of care you want the pet to get. If you leave the pet under another person’s care in your will, you can never be sure that that person will take care of your pet like you would.
Creating a Trust For Your Dog
A trust will come into effect immediately the terms in your trust are fulfilled which either can be upon your death or when you are incapacitated. You can either create a traditional trust or a statutory pet trust for your pet. A traditional trust designates a caregiver who becomes the actual beneficiary of the trust as long as the caregiver enforces the trust terms.
You as the pet owner must also name a trustee to administer the trust and ensure that the property in the trust is managed properly to the benefit of your dog. However, you don’t have to declare a caregiver or trustee when you create a statutory pet trust. You can simply put money in the trust and declare that that amount is intended for the care of your dog. It is the court that will appoint people to oversee the money and caregivers. The problem with statutory pet trusts is that you need to consider the pet’s lifespan. For example, if you left money that can only cater for the pet for 10 years and the pet lives for an extra 5 years, your pet may have to be adopted or sent to a shelter.