Pet Trust Planning in Virginia
A “Pet Trust” is a legally valid arrangement to provide for the care and maintenance of your companion animal after your unable to. Under Virginia law, the “grantor” or the person who create the trust may put the financial resources into the trust to be paid to a caregive to support the companion animal. The life of a trust lasts as long as the animal or last surviving animal, if there are several, lives.
At the end of the life of the trust the remaining proceeds are distributed either per the terms of the grantor’s will or terms of the trust.
The Two Most Important Issues In A Pet Trust
The two most important issues in a pet trust are the selection of the caregiver and proper planning of the details.
It goes without saying that the selection of the caregiver by the pet owner should be a person who loves and will take good care of your companion pet. It is generally not adviseable to make the caregive and the trustee of the trust the same person to avoid confusing interests. However, it is not prohibited.
The planning of the pet trust in Virginia is very important in order to avoid confusion, omission, or conflict. Some issues to consider are:
- Properly identifying your pets in order to prevent fraud using photos, microchips, DNA samples;
- Outlining in detail your pet’s standard of living and care and your expectation for their care;
- Require regular inspections of your pet(s) and the caregivers living arrangements by the trustee;
- Determine the amount of funds needed to sufficiently cover the expenses for your pet’s care and the administrative costs of the trust;
- Designate a remainder beneficiary in the event the funds in the pet trust are not exhausted;
- Provide instructions and funds for the final disposition of your pet.
Pet trusts can give you the peace of mind that when you are no longer there to care for your pet companion they will not be discarded as property. Call Merna Law to create your pet trust today.