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Pet Trusts – Who Will Take Care of Them in Your Absence?

 It’s hard to phantom that someone could love your fur friend as much as you do. However, if you are elderly or suffer from a debilitating illness, you are probably worried about what will happen to your faithful companions once you are no longer able to take care of them. You could ensure they are taken care of informally by writing down instructions and wishes down and share it with a loved one, whether a family member or close friend. But to ensure your wishes are legally binding, you might think of making one Living Trust for your pet. 


How does a Pet Trust Work 

It is permissible to create an animal trust under the Uniform Probate Code in Texas, but you will need to make sure your trust is drafted in accordance with the laws of your state. A Pet Trust works just like any other Revocable Living Trust and here are important elements to include in it while drafting:

Who will be the Trustee and who will be the new owners of the animal(s). The Trustee you have named does not necessarily have to take ownership of the pets. In fact, it is usually best when the Trustee and the new owner are not the same. That way, the Trustee can hold the new owner accountable for the instructions left behind. It is always important to make sure that whoever is the new owner is able and willing to take the animal. 


Specific care instructions. Animals have their own routines when it comes to food and sleeping. It’s important to include all details possible such as food schedules, preferred types of foods/brands, exercise, boarding and grooming facilities used, outdoor and indoor routines and any other important detail for their utmost care. 


Veterinary care. Leave behind the animal’s veterinarian, and list any known medical conditions. Also add if applicable, their medications, routine, etc. 


How to identify pets. Include any photos, microchip information and/or even DNA samples. It’s important to include as much information as possible to avoid any confusion.

Access to the pets. In order to ensure your wishes are followed, the Trustee should be given full legal access to the pets once the owner takes possession.

Funds for your pets. The point of the whole will is to outline the money that will be dedicated for the taking care of the pet. The designated Trustee will approve and reimburse budget for all items listed above for its care, specified in your instructions.


Remainder beneficiary. If the pet ends up passing away before the funds run own, a beneficiary will inherit what is left of it. Usually this person tends to be the new owner, but doesn’t have to be.


Instructions for final goodbyes. When your pet passes away, be sure to dedicate some money for the cost to cover either the burying or cremation of them. A Pet Trust is a great legal document to have in case you are worried about the quality of your pet’s care once you are no longer here. Talk to one of our Estate Planning Lawyers today to learn more about this type of Trust and other options.

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