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Miami Probate Attorney Guide to Setting Up Pet Trusts

On Behalf of | Jun 14, 2019 | Firm News

How Can I Provide for My Pets After My Death?

If you’re seeking a probate attorney in Miami, you’re probably drawing up your will. It’s important to arrange how you would like to distribute your property and assets after you pass away. However, don’t forget to take your pets into account. Under Florida law, pets are property. That means you need to think about who will care for them after you’re gone.

Why Do I Need a Florida Probate Attorney to Arrange My Pet’s Future Care?

Pets are an important part of your family. Therefore, it’s paramount to make the appropriate provisions in your will for your pets. There is a provision in state law that allows a person to create a pet trust. This will set aside sufficient money for the care of your pet. You can also choose who you will name as guardian of your pet. Your Florida probate attorney can arrange this for you. It’s a fact that shelters euthanize around 500,000 pets every year because their owners failed to plan for them. Therefore, it’s essential to have legal paperwork in place.

Beginning with An Action Plan

Your first step should be to write an action plan. This will identify a minimum of two people to care for your pet after you’re gone. Write down all the key information about caring for your pet. These details should include photographs, identifying information, vet details, feeding and care requirements, and health records. Make sure you keep this information up to date and store it safely with your estate planning documents. You must also include provisions within the estate plan outlining your wishes for your pet’s care after you die.

Your Options for Estate Planning

An estate planning attorney in Miami can help you to arrange for your pet’s future care. Around a quarter of all pet owners have their pets included in their wills. However, naming your pet as your beneficiary is not a wise move. Pets cannot inherit property. Therefore, probate would need to administer your will. This takes time and could interfere with your pet’s essential care. Therefore, a pet trust is a better solution.

One key element is choosing the right person to care for your pet. It goes without saying that you should ask that person first. You should also nominate a second person as a backup. If you have nobody to care for your pet, there are organizations that can offer your pet lifetime care. Although you could leave your pet to your named person without creating a pet trust, we don’t recommend it. There will be no guarantee that person will be able or willing to care for your pet after you die. A pet trust, however, provides for a trustee, pet care panel, and pet caregiver. Each of these people fills his or her own role in your pet’s lifetime care. This gives you greater peace of mind.

Florida Law and Pet Trusts

Until recently, there was no provision for estate planning for pets under Florida Law. However, the amendment under Section 737.116 of the Florida Statute now permits pet trusts.

In Florida pet trusts, a named trustee will take possession of your pet. He or she will care personally for your animal and use the funds in the trust to cover any expenses. These include veterinary appointments, food, and accommodation.

If there are funds remaining after the pet dies, the trust outlines how the person is to distribute them. The caregiver can choose another beneficiary to receive the remaining funds, or they can go to a chosen charity.

You can choose to fund your pet trust during your lifetime or after you die. If you choose to have it funded after death, you can create your trust with provisions added to your will. Alternatively, you can add it to a Florida Revocable Trust. This is a testamentary pet trust.

Arranging Your Pet Trust

If you are looking for a probate attorney in Miami, Thomas McDonald Law is here to help. We can help you to arrange future care for your pets after you die. A pet trust drawn up by our expert team will give you complete peace of mind.