Polly Want A Cracker? No, Polly Wants Her Own Estate Plan
When you have a beloved animal in your life and want to provide for their well-being after you are gone, contact the pet trust lawyers CT at The Prue Law Group, P.C. Ensure the future welfare of your beloved dog, cat, exotic bird or whatever animal is part of your family. We will be happy to discuss Pet Trusts with you. Call (860) 423-9231.
For many of us our pets are loved as part of our family, and as such, we want to provide for them when we no longer are able. It is not uncommon for many of our clients to inquire as to what steps can be taken to protect their pets upon their death or their own incapacity.
For more than a decade, Connecticut law has provided just such a method. As part of your estate plan, you can establish a “Pet Trust” and it is enforceable within our probate court system so as to guarantee your wishes are complied with.
These pet trusts can:
- Designate someone to care for your pet and even appoint a person, known as a “Trust Protector”, to supervise the care the pet is receiving from the designated caregiver.
- Be funded so that there are monies set aside to provide food, cover medical costs, housing costs, and other expenses that the caregiver may incur while taking care of your beloved pet.
- Direct that the person caring for your pets be reimbursed for their time and expense.
- Specify where any remaining funds not used for your pet upon their death are distributed to family, friends, or perhaps an animal shelter.
- And as with all estate trusts, the Probate Court will require annual accountings to ensure your wishes are properly complied with.
Statistics tell us that each year hundreds of thousands of pets are placed in shelters or abandoned, situations that you would never want for them and estate planning tools such as a “pet trust” are effective and simple steps to care for them.
CONSIDERATIONS ABOUT PET TRUSTS
When you want to provide for the care and well-being of a pet, follow this list of considerations.
Firstly, determine what pet(s) to include in the trust. The pet may be identified by your pet’s name, photograph and a written description. Include a microchip number, DNA profile, and registration papers. Next, write a detailed directive on the type of care you desire for your pet. Include specific treatments, emergency care, daily care, grooming, boarding, walking or other services.
When determining how much money to fund the trust, you need to consider the pet’s life expectancy, special needs, daily cost of food, shelter, and medical services. It may be a good idea leave sufficient funds for pet insurance.
Next, you must designate a Trustee, a Caregiver, a Trust Protector, and the remainder Beneficiary.
- The Trustee is typically a family member or friend who is familiar with your pet. This is a person who will treat your pet as a member of the family.
- You may wish to appoint a Caregiver rather than the Trustee to care for your pet. The Caregiver would be compensated by the Trustee.
- Connecticut law requires that you appoint a Trust Protector. The Trust Protector makes sure that the Trust assets are being used for your pet. The Trust Protector may report directly to the Probate or Superior Court to enforce its provisions, remove the trustee or order an accounting.
- The remainder Beneficiary is one named to receive any remaining funds when your pet dies.
- Lastly, make arrangements for the final disposition of your pet upon its death. Include instructions for burial, cremation or memorial ceremony.
Pets are not recognized as trust beneficiaries under federal law. The trust receives no income distribution deduction for distributions and pays income taxes on taxable income. The trust is entitled to deduct the amount of distributable net income paid to the caregiver or Trustee and the Caregiver or Trustee recognizes this taxable income on his or her own income tax return. Connecticut recognizes a trust for the benefit of a pet, but does not qualify for an estate deduction.