When my wife and I are out of town, we call my friend, Kristin Skelton, owner of Floofins and Co., which provides pet sitting and dog walking services, to make sure that our black lab, Leah, is taken care of while we are gone. Kristin recently told me that many of her clients had asked her about pet trusts, which are trust funds you can establish to ensure that your pets are taken care of after you pass away. Being a dog lover myself, I was thrilled to write an article on the subject at Kristin’s suggestion.
Pet trust law, including the validity of such trusts, varies from state to state. Fortunately, Illinois recently enacted a statute that explicitly provides for the creation of pet trusts.
When you create a pet trust, your attorney will draft a trust document naming your pet as the beneficiary of the trust after you pass away and also naming a trustee, who will be responsible at that time for managing the assets of the trust for the benefit of your pet. You and your attorney can then transfer assets into the trust.
Such assets will remain in your control during your lifetime, but will not be included in your estate at your death. Instead such assets will be legally held by the trust until they are distributed for the care of your pet according to the terms of the trust.
For more information on trusts in general, please visit our estate planning page, where you can watch a short video of our recent estate planning seminar.
If you are considering a pet trust, you should keep the following information in mind:
O'Flaherty Law is happy to meet with you by phone or at our office locations in: