For many of us pets are not property, but members of the family. Unfortunately, for the longest time the law treated pets as property and anyone who provided for their pets in their estate plan was considered a little crazy. My how have things have changed. Ohio trust law now specifically allows an individual to establish a trust to provide for the care of their pets by establishing an Ohio pet trust.
A pet trust can set up as a stand-alone trust, or it can be incorporated into your revocable living trust. Either way, a pet trust will need to be funded, so your pet will have sufficient resources to be cared for during your death or disability. Once you have figured out how to fund your pet trust, you will also need to appoint a trustee and caregiver for your pet. The trustee will manage the money for the benefit of your pet, while the caregiver will take care of your pet’s day-to-day needs. While the same individual can act as both trustee and caretaker, it may be advisable to use separate individuals to ensure your pet is properly cared for.
Some other topics you may want to be certain to address in your Ohio pet trust include:
- Provide pet care instructions.
- Note any health problems, medication or treatments and a schedule of veterinary visits.
- Require the trustee to make sure the pet gets regular, thorough veterinary check-ups.
- Consider taking out a life insurance policy, making the pet trustee the beneficiary
- Specify how any funds remaining after your pet’s death should be used.
- State how your pet should be treated after its death. If cremated, say what you want to happen to the ashes.
If you are concerned about what might happen to your pet in the event of your death or disability, let us help you put a pet trust in place so you can put your mind at ease.
If you or a loved one need quality estate planning, please give me a call. I will take the time to get to know you, your family, your desires, your concerns, your goals, and any potential future problems. Your estate plan should be a custom designed to meet your goals. Remember, failing to plan, is planning to fail.
Paul Kellogg is an attorney in Cincinnati with the Phillips Law Firm, Inc. Paul’s practice focuses on providing comprehensive estate planning and probate services to families and business owners, as well as serving as outside general counsel to entrepreneurs and businesses on a wide variety of business transactions and disputes. He can be reached at (513) 985-2500 or via email at [email protected] Please explore Paul’s other articles on estate planning and business on the Phillips Law Firm Blog page.
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