When a person in Colorado Springs starts developing an estate plan, they may initially think of what assets they want to pass down to their spouse, children and other loved ones. However, they may not initially think of what will happen to their pets if they pass away before their pet does. Our furry friends need protection in such times, so those undergoing the estate planning process will also want to address how they want their pet cared for if their pet outlives them.

One option is to execute a pet trust. In a pet trust, a person selects a trustee to care for the pet and funds are allocated specifically for the pet’s care. This way, the funds are being left to a human trustee (it generally is not possible to leave funds to a pet directly in a will or trust). It is important that the person you are selecting as the trustee is willing and able to care for your pet before executing such a trust.

Pet trusts can be very specific. They can outline what veterinarian the pet is to see, where the pet is to live, what the pet is to be fed and other details regarding the care of the pet. Those executing a pet trust, however, should ensure the trust is funded during their lifetime, and that those funds are to be used solely for the pet’s care. If there are funds left after the pet passes away, those funds will generally go to a person named in the pet trust, such as a family member or the pet’s caretaker.

Our pets are truly members of our family, so they should not be left out when it comes to estate planning. While you can leave an outright bequest to your pet in your will, a pet trust may be one option to consider that will permit you to leave funds for the care of your pet. However, like any other legal document, pet trusts can be very complex. Therefore, those who wish to execute a pet trust may benefit from seeking professional guidance before proceeding.