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We love them, so why not protect them? Introducing the pet trust

You'd virtually have to be an alien to be unaware that Americans across the country, including in Texas, are flat-out animal lovers.

Reportedly, one or more animals reside in nearly seven of every 10 households in the United States.

Indeed, that makes for a lot of cherished family companions.

Bob Vetere, president of the American Pet Products Association, states the obvious when he says that, “Many people think of their pets as family members.” Given that, it is entirely understandable that much concern attaches to their care and well-being.

What happens to a pet when a caregiver’s incapacitating illness or death occurs and presents a potential or immediate disruption in care?

Sad outcomes await pets in some instances, with a safe and timely transition to another caregiver being a fortunate reality in other cases.

Optimally, caregivers might have availed themselves of a pet trust to ensure a seamless transition to another caregiver that will act in an animal’s best interests.

Some people might raise their eyebrows at that, thinking that such a legal instrument is both rare and strange.

Assuredly, it is not, and it can be a very effective tool to promote an animal’s best interests and provide a current caregiver with peace of mind.

Pet trusts are in fact exceedingly common, being operative in 46 states, including Texas. If properly drafted, they can help ensure that a trustee is named who is legally obliged to act in a loved pet’s best interests and in the manner specified by the trust creator.

An experienced estate planning attorney knows well that many clients have pets that they love and seek to provide for in the future. A proven estate administration lawyer can provide candid and knowledgeable information on pet trusts and other relevant planning considerations.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, "More Americans are writing their pets into their wills," Anne Tergesen, Jan. 12, 2014

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