A record number of Americans are incorporating a non-human friend into their family. In order to care for these pets after death, a recent article notes that many of these Americans are now incorporating beloved pets into their wills.
However, incorporating a pet into a will is not enough to ensure that the pet is properly cared for. Through a will, a person can only dictate who they would like to care for the pet, and leave funds to provide for the care. There is no way to ensure that the named caretaker actually takes the pet or spends the money for his or her care.
Unless you trust the caretaker named in your will, the only way to ensure that your pet is cared for as you intended is through a pet trust. Funds distributed through a pet trust are conditional, and can only be spent on particular approved expenses. When you set up a pet trust, you will name a trustee who will be responsible for managing and distributing funds for your pet’s care.
Importantly, pet trusts are not only for wealthy pet owners. Most pet trust simply contain enough money to cover a pet’s necessities such as food and medical care.