Loneliness is a challenge for many seniors that have lost loved ones along the way. Clearly, a pet could make a world of difference, but responsible folks are going to have longevity concerns.
Of course, you do not have to experience social isolation to benefit from pet ownership as an elder. Still, the $10,000 question remains: What would happen to the pet if you were to predecease the animal?
This is a good question, and many years ago, there was no ironclad solution. Yes, you could leave an inheritance to someone in a will with the understanding that they will take care of the pet. However, there were no legally binding guarantees, and this can be disconcerting.
Fortunately, things are different these days. You can in fact make sure that your fine furry friend will be provided for appropriately if you pass away first.
One by one, states started to recognize pet trusts over the years. At this point, you can establish a pet trust in all 50 states. The way that it works is you evaluate the needs of the pet from a financial perspective. You establish and fund the trust, and you name a trustee.
Any mentally competent adult that is willing to assume the role can technically act as a trustee. If you do not know anyone personally that is suitable, you still have options. There are professional fiduciaries that provide trustee services for a fee.
When you are drawing up the trust agreement, you provide instructions for the trustee regarding the way that the pet will be cared for after you are gone. You can be very specific with regard to living arrangement, treats, food type, exercise schedule, and any other detail that is important to you.
It is important to point out the fact that the trustee will not necessarily care for the pet directly. They will have a legal responsibility to make sure that the instructions they recorded in the trust declaration are carried out to the letter.
Without question, it can be hard to calculate the appropriate funding amount because you have no way of knowing how long the pet will live. This is understandable, but there is a viable solution built into the process.
You can name a successor beneficiary when you establish the trust. If there are resources remaining in the trust after the pet’s death, the successor will inherit the assets.
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