How to Take Care of Your Pet in Your Estate Plan

Our pets are part of our families.  One of the harder parts about having a pet is that they usually don’t live as long as we do.  But what happens to our pets if they outlive us? 

Luckily, Maryland law allows you to set up a trust for the care of your pet, and you can set up a trust for your pet as part of your estate plan.  When setting up a trust to care for a pet, you will need to appoint a trustee to administer the trust, a caregiver for your pet, and a person authorized to enforce the trust.  The caregiver can be the same as the trustee or the person authorized to enforce the trust.  If you do not name a person authorized to enforce the trust, a court may appoint one. 

How much money you will need to fund the trust depends on the age, health, and life expectancy of your pet.  If your pet has a chronic condition such as diabetes or asthma, you will need to include enough money so that the caregiver can purchase the medication your pet needs. 

You should also think about what happens with any money or other property of the trust when your pet passes away.  The general rule is that any trust property – including money – not required for the care of a pet goes to the trust settlor, if living, or to the settlor’s successors in interest.  In your trust, you can say what happens.

Contact my office for an appointment so we can help you set up a trust for the care of your pet as part of your estate plan.  I regularly work with clients from Montgomery, Prince George’s, and Howard counties, as well as other clients throughout Maryland. 

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