Who will care for your pets after your death?by Kelly Karczmar on 01/17/15
Illinois is one of the few states to have a pet trust law. The law enables you to create a trust to ensure that your pets are cared for after you die. The law is powerful because it allows you to appoint both a caretaker for your pets, and a trustee to handle the financial arrangements. These positions may be held by the same person, but it's not a requirement.
Pet trusts allow you to appoint someone to enforce trust provisions. This is important because your pet cannot speak up for himself. He cannot take a trustee or caretaker to court if he is neglected or if funds for his/her care are mishandled.
There are many things to consider when you create a pet trust. They include:
- Who will be the trustee? Who will act as successor trustee if the primary trustee is unable to act? Do you want the trustee and the caretaker to be the same person? A good-hearted animal lover may not be the best money manager.
- What standard of living do you want your pet to enjoy? Your trust should include information on your pet’s diet, level of exercise, level of socialization, as well as his grooming and maintenance routines.
- Who will be the successor caretaker if the primary caretaker is unable to act?
- What are the identifying characteristics of your pet? If your pet has a microchip, the number should be included in the trust. His age should also be identified.
- What are the medical needs of your pet? If your pet has chronic health issues, his medical and prescription requirements should be detailed.
- What property will you use to fund the trust? If the value of the trust assets is excessive, then a court may interfere, causing unnecessary legal expenses. The key is to provide sufficient funds for your pet without going overboard.
- What will happen if your trust funds run out before your pet dies? If there is any money left in your pet trust after your pet dies, who will receive it?