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Have a pet? Consider a pet trust

If you pass away, what happens to your pets? This is a thought that can leave people upset and concerned about their pet's welfare. Pets are like children to some and best friends to others, and there are ways to protect your pet. The main way is by developing a pet trust.

A pet trust is a legal arrangement that guarantees care for your pet in the case that you no longer can for any reason. The reason may be disability, death or another cause. As the grantor of the trust, you place property into the trust for the benefit of your pets. For example, you might include $5,000 in a trust to help cover any medical bills your pet has or to cover the cost of food or other care. Whoever the designated caregiver is will begin to receive payments from the trust on a regular basis once necessary. The trust typically extends throughout the life the pet or up to 21 years.

Trusts are legally enforceable arrangements, and having one means that you can be guaranteed that your pet will have a guardian and the support necessary to provide it with a good, healthy life if or when you can't be there to provide it. Your trust can be very specific if you choose to make it so. For instance, you can require that the guardian takes your pet for a daily walk, feeds him or her a specific food brand or even take your pet to the veterinary office several times a year for check-ups.

Your attorney can help you draw up documents and start the trust, so your pet has the protection it needs.

Source: ASPCA, "Pet Trust Primer," accessed Nov. 10, 2016

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