When Ohio residents plan for the future of loved ones, pets may be overlooked in the considerations. It is possible for trusts to be established for pets, and experts say that pet trusts can eliminate problems that sometimes arise when pets are left without an owner due to death.
A trust is a holding of money or property by an appointed person on behalf of the actual beneficiary or beneficiaries. Pets are considered to be personal property, so it is not legally possible to leave money to an animal. By establishing a trust for a pet, an owner can be sure the pet is provided for.
There are a few different types of trusts for pets. With a traditional trust, the owner appoints a caregiver for the pet and provides instructions on the pet's care. A trustee is appointed to handle the money that is designated for the pet. A statement in a will to provide a certain amount of money in trust for a named pet can also be used. In this case, a caregiver and trustee are appointed by the court. A pet protection agreement is another option, and it works well in cases where the owner does not leave a large amount of money for the pet. The agreement is signed by the pet's owner and designated guardian.
Trusts can be planned for any pet, but are often recommended specifically for types of pets that have long life expectancies, pets that are unusual or exotic, or multiple pets belonging to one owner. In cases in which it might be difficult to find someone willing to take ownership of a pet or pets, a trust with an appointed caregiver who has agreed to care for the pet or pets can secure the animal's future.
Proper estate planning can help loved ones to avoid financial and legal difficulties after a family member has died. An attorney can outline the types of documents that may be appropriate for a client's particular family and financial circumstances.