How can you include your pets in your estate plan?

Maybe you have set up most of your estate plan in North Carolina, or you are just getting started. People at all stages of their estate planning eventually run into the question of how to provide for their pets after they have passed away. 

Including your pet in your will can give a guaranteed result during the probate process, but what if the person to whom you entrust the animal winds up unable to care for your pet to the standard that you wish? If this is something that is on your mind, you may want to consider starting a pet trust. 

What a pet trust is

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals states that a pet trust creates a reserve of funds that legally may only be used to provide care for the animal specified in the trust. It will remain in effect for the entire life of your pet. 

When you draft a pet trust, the person you name as trustee will hold whatever funds or property you designate to be used solely for the care of your pet. 

Advantages to a pet trust

A pet trust allows you to provide funds specifically to cover administrative costs in addition to the funds used specifically for your pet. In a pet trust, you can also specify regular inspections of your pet, describe the standard of care and living your pet will be required to have, and also properly identify your pet to avoid fraud. If your pet should pass away before the funds in the trust are exhausted, you can designate a remainder beneficiary who will inherit whatever is leftover.