Sep 2014

A Trust for Your Pet? You Bet.

Our Law Firm Can Help You Create a Trust for Your Pet

Animal lovers know how a beloved dog, cat, or other pet can become like a member of the family. If you have a furry or feathered family member, you may worry about what will happen to your animals after you pass away. Unfortunately, not everyone understands or appreciates how people and animals can form deep, lasting bonds. Sadly, animals are frequently euthanized after an owner has passed away and no one steps forward to care for them. If you rely on a verbal agreement with a friend or relative, you have no way of knowing whether your wishes will be honored. With an estate plan carefully prepared by our law firm, you can take steps to ensure your animals are cared for and protected after your death.

Pets Are Property

Under Missouri law, pets are treated as personal property. This means you can transfer ownership of them just as you would any other asset, such as a painting or a piece of jewelry. You can also include your pet as an asset in your Last Will and Testament, passing ownership of the animal to a beneficiary. Although this is certainly one possible option, your intended beneficiary might be unwilling or financially incapable of taking on the responsibility of a pet. This is why many pet lovers turn to a law firm to create “pet trusts” as a way to ensure their four-legged (or otherwise) companions are protected.

Pet Trusts in Missouri

Since 2004, Missouri has allowed people to create a trust specifically designed for an animal’s care. Under Missouri Revised Statutes Section 456.4-408, pet owners can make a trust that provides for their animal’s care during the owner’s lifetime and after the owner’s death, terminating upon the death of the animal. Unlike a will, a pet trust addresses the issue of who will care for the animal in the event the owner becomes incapacitated – a concern for many seniors, who worry about what will happen to their pets if they become mentally or physically unsound.

Our law firm can make sure your pet trust addresses a variety of important items regarding your pet’s care, including:

  • Who will look after the animal
  • Who will oversee the trust’s funds
  • Preferred veterinarians and groomers
  • The type of care you wish the pet to receive
  • The amount of funds spent on various aspects of your pet’s care
  • How funds are distributed to caregivers
  • Who is entitled to receive any remaining funds after your pet passes away

Springfield, Missouri Estate Planning Law Firm

To discuss how a pet trust can protect your pets in the event of your death or incapacity, contact the estate planning attorneys at the Law Office of Randy L. Smith, LLC today at (417) 841-2775 to schedule an estate planning consultation at our law firm.

This website has been prepared by The Law Office of Randy L. Smith, LLC for informational purposes only and does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. The information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to substitute for legal advice from an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.