Do you consider your pets to be part of your family? Have you provided for them like the rest of your family? If not, now is the time to think about adding a pet trust to your Will.
New Jersey has a specific statute addressing a trust for the care of a domesticated animal. See N.J.S.A. 3B:11-38. The statute provides that the trust can be for the life of the pet(s) covered under the trust or the end of 21 years, whichever occurs earlier. You should appoint a Trustee as well as a Successor Trustee who will follow the terms of the trust. That Trustee will manage the money for your pet’s needs. For example, if you leave $10,000 for the care of your pet, the trustee can only use that money for the care of your pet. You should also appoint a caregiver for your pet who will act as the voice for your pet. That way, the trustee cannot go to Atlantic City and gamble away the trust funds.
There are two methods of creating a pet trust. The first, are trusts set up in your Will, also known as testamentary trust. With a testamentary trust, the trust does not take effect until your death and you would then need to fund the trust through a provision in the Will The second is known as an inter vivos trust and is created during your lifetime. In the event you become disabled or unable to care for your pet the caregiver can spring into action immediately. With an inter vivos you have to fund it at the time it is created. Funding a trust means to transfer money or property into the trust for the care of your pet.
You should be as specific as possible when detailing the care for your pet. You should include the type of food and diet, the veterinarian you want used, toys, grooming, exercise, etc. No detail is unimportant.
To learn more about this important decision contact me.