If the current COVID-19 pandemic has you thinking abut getting your affairs in order, you are not alone.  For pet owners, the care of your furry loved ones is also a priority.  Just as you can set up a trust for your assets as part of an estate plan, you can also set up a pet trust.  This ensures that your pet(s) will be taken care of if the time comes that you cannot care for them yourself.

When setting up a pet trust you should appoint a pet guardian who will care for your pet when you can no longer do so.  The guardian may also serve as the trustee but selecting two different individuals to be trustee and guardian is common practice as this ensures that more than one person will be in charge and there is less of a chance of misappropriation of property and funds associated with the trust.  The trustee holds the funds in trust and allocates those to the guardian as needed for care of the pet. You will also need to decide how much money to put in the trust. You can also add specifics such as what type of food your pet eats, the groomer they go to, and what type of medical care they receive.

One detail that is often overlooked is how the pet should be cared for in the event that the owner becomes incapacitated. Pet trusts close this gap by providing detailed instructions for what should happen in this case.

The pet trust generally terminates upon the death of the animal or the last surviving animal that is covered by the trust. Arizona law does not have much direction beyond this point making it very important to have an experienced estate planning attorney to create a pet trust that fits the individual needs of the pet owner.

Uncertain times are challenging and at Davis Miles McGuire Gardner, we want to help you make sure all of your assets are taken care of. A pet trust is a useful tool to make sure your furry family members are not left behind.

Attorney Sarah Clifford of Davis Miles McGuire Gardner spoke with attorney Bob Sewell on the “Is that Even Legal?” podcast about pet trusts.  You can listen to the podcast HERE.