Gayle Reeves' Blog

Trusts for Pets

Gayle A. Reeves - Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Are you or do you know someone who is very close to their pets and worried about what will happen when they can no longer care for their pets or they die? This is a very common concern, regardless of a person's age. Luckily for the residents of the State of Ohio, the Ohio Trust Code specifically allows for the establishment of trusts for the care of animals. This Code sets out guidelines to use in creating such trusts, and for the Court to use in determining the validity of such trusts.

One of the basic requirements for a pet trust is the purpose of the trust must be for the care of animals alive during the lifetime of the creator of the trust (aka Trustor). Special considerations should be given if a person owns a breeding animal. Another requirement is that the trust must terminate upon the death of the animal, or upon the death of the last surviving animal if the trust provides for the care of more than one animal. Careful thought must be given to appointing someone who will physically care for the animals. You may also want to designate someone who will make sure that the animals are receiving the proper care. The trust should contain provisions for the specific use of the funds. Some appropriate expenses might be for veterinary services, food, grooming, toys, and boarding.

The property held in the trust may only be used for its intended purposes. Therefore, particular consideration must be given to the funding of the trust. A specific dollar amount may be designated to provide for the care of the pets. An alternative is to create a formula, which would be used upon the death of the Trustor to determine the amount of money to be set aside for the care of the pets. The trust should have sufficient assets to provide for the pet during the rest of its lifetime.; If there is money remaining in the trust when the pet passes away, you should designate to whom the money would be distributed. Do you want it to family members, friends, the pet's caregiver, or to a charitable organization whose main purpose is animal protection?

The creation of this type of trust gives peace of mind to pet owners who can be assured that their pets will be well taken care of, even if the owners cannot do it themselves.

If you would like more information on Pet Trusts, please contact Gayle A. Reeves Co., L.P.A., Attorney at Law, Vineyard Square Plaza, 1607 State Route 60, Suite 10, Vermilion, OH, 44089, call 440-967-6565. Member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys.