According to the ASPCA, 1.5 million animals are euthanized in the United States each year. That’s why it’s so important to have a plan for your pet in the event of your death or disability. With a proper plan, your pets will be cared for by the person you chose who can be provided with instructions and resources for their care. There are several ways to do this, so the first step is to consult with an experienced New York estate planning for pets lawyer to discuss what would work best for your pets.
Wills are simpler to create than trusts, but are limited in the protection they can provide for your pet. Wills cannot fully protect pets for the following reasons:
NY EPTL § 7-8.1 was enacted by the New York State legislature under pressure to provide more protection for New Yorkers’ pets after their death. Creating trusts for the benefit of animals has become so popular that all 50 States have now enacted legislation for Pet Trusts. Trusts for pets now allow for the care of an animal through a trustee for an animal beneficiary. That means that funds from the estate be earmarked for food, veterinary care and other needs of the pet, terminating upon the death of the beneficiary animal. If you would like to create a trust for your pet, consulting with an experienced New York estate planning for pets lawyer is the first step.
To start, you must select a caretaker and a trustee. You can select the same person for these two roles, but you do not have to. Having two different persons can create a useful “check and balance,” which can provide additional protection for your pet. The caretaker will be the legal owner of your pet, who is charged with carrying out your instructions for the pet’s maintenance and care. The trustee will distribute funds from the trust to be used for food, veterinary care and other costs that you specify in the trust.
When determining the amount of funding, it is a good idea to look carefully at the likely future expenses based on the following:
Pets trusts offer the greatest protection for your pet, but are difficult to set up. Consulting with an experienced estate planning attorney is the best way to get started.
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