I was having lunch with a friend this week and we found ourselves discussing a pet trust. She also does estate planning work but had never done one. For my clients, I have done a few of them over the years. I’ve even put together some basic information on a pet trust before for this blog. But it’s more common that even if my clients have a pet, they aren’t planning on setting up a pet trust. Admittedly, even for myself, I don’t have one for my 19-year-old cat…

This week, the folks over at the Hustle had an article on the wild world of trust funds for pets. The article has some pretty interesting survey results and statistics about pet trusts. In most states, pets are treated as “property” so they can’t inherit money directly. But this has given rise to using a trustee to use the money for a pet after their owner has passed away.

The Rise of the Pet Trust

According to the article, the 1990s saw the rise of a movement for pet inheritances. Based on the animal rights movement, laws were put on the books that made it easier to create a pet trust. According to their survey, 81% of pet owners say they value their pets as much as their own children. For me, that’s a tough call since my cat has been around longer than my wife and my children…

When it comes to planning, a Securian Financial Group survey found that 44% of pet owners have some kind of post-death financial arrangement for their pet. That’s made up of 11% in writing and 33% verbally planned.

For the article, the author used an online website to create a pet trust. Just like when you create a will for yourself, creating a document in this fashion can be a big risk. One of the risks the article highlights is that you have to be sure to be very descriptive of your pet for the purposes of the trust.

If you want to see some interesting numbers, check out the Hustle article for the table of the selection of the largest animal inheritances. Some of those figures may shock you…

Next Steps

If you are interested in a pet trust and don’t have a will yet, or if you have one and would like to add a pet trust to your existing one, call my office to set up a meeting and we can review the best options for you – (877) AMAYERS.

Andrew Ayers
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I work with business and estate planning clients to craft legal solutions to protect their legacies.