Pets are people too: Providing care through a trust

A pet parent in Michigan may not have the same concerns as the parent of a minor child. However, a cherished cat or dog companion is in a vulnerable position after an owner’s death, and will need someone to take over its care. According to UPI, one woman ensured her cats would never want for anything by choosing guardians and setting up a trust to provide for their needs. She designated $300,000 from her estate to fund this pet trust, which stipulated that the money be spent on grooming needs, health care and food, as well as any other expenses that arose.

USA Today notes that pets can be expensive to care for. In fact, American pet owners spend an average of $787 annually on their pets. The person who the owner has the most confidence in to provide love to the animal may not be the person who can afford the financial responsibility. A trust allows him or her to designate a trustee based on this factor, rather than identifying the person who has the money to provide care. Often, a pet trust can be added to an existing living trust.

When a person sets up a trust, he or she is able to specify exactly what the money will be used for. This helps ensure that the person chosen to provide care is not accepting merely to enjoy the added income. The money that funds the trust cannot be accessed by the pet guardian, and the control the trustor has over future expenditures could extend to specifics such as the type of food purchased, how often the dog is groomed and where, and other important details.