“Trusts have emerged as fairly common tools to ensure that a spouse, children or other family members receive financial assistance after you're gone, and their use can be extended to help family members with fur, fins or feathers.”
Pet trusts can provide legal instructions and protections for the care and placement of your furry friends, when you pass away or are incapacitated.
AZ Central’s article, “Who will care for your beloved pet after you're gone? A trust can help with that,” says that it's hard to guess the number of people who have trusts to benefit pets. It’s still a pretty new concept. However, more people are learning that you can and should include pets in your estate planning. Many pet lovers find that a trust is appealing and worth the cost.
A trust lets assets be transferred to others without going through probate. They also can provide ongoing financial support for beneficiaries who might burn though a lump sum. A revocable living trust can be changed, dissolved or redrafted, while you're still living and competent.
These are packaged frequently with documents like a pour-over will (for assets not titled into the trust) and financial and health-care powers of attorney, which appoints another person to act on your behalf in case of incapacity.
A pet trust designates a trusted person or organization to provide ongoing care for your animals and gives them the money to do so. Many people make informal arrangements. They ask friends or relatives to take in their animals, but without a trust or other legal document, there's no guarantee that your instructions will be followed.
As part of the process, an owner can detail how much medical care should be given to a pet, especially an older one (when euthanasia might be the preferred route). Trusts can help you prepare for those and other contingencies, so you’d have some control over what happens to your pet.
Designating the right trustee is critical. That is the person or organization entrusted with carrying out your wishes.
You can always just leave money with a friend or family member along with care instructions, but there’s nothing stopping that person from using the money for something else—and giving your pets away or sending them to a shelter.
Reference: AZ Central (March 25, 2017) “Who will care for your beloved pet after you're gone? A trust can help with that”