Pet Trusts

My aging friend, Sean, loved his Golden Lab. As part of that love, Sean prepared for the possibility that someday he might not be able to take care of his dog.

Just as Sean loved his Golden Lab, we all love our pets, and would do anything for their well-being while they are in our care. As totally attentive pet owners, we can make sure that our loving care continues after we have gone.

In beginning our preparation for taking care of our beloved pets, should we pre-decease them, we recommend the Pet Directive. It is available as a free download that was developed by California attorney, Stefanie West.  This document is not a trust, but is a great beginning for caring pet parents, like you, to record the statistics and needs of your beloved pet.

Once you have filled out the Pet Directive, add a beneficiary to your will, along with some money to cover the caretaker role. But, because you want to continue caring for your pet in the best way possible, we recommend a detailed trust that this office can assist you with. It can include all the details that you have listed in the Pet Directive.

We would like to suggest that, as a loving pet parent, you should appoint an understudy – an alternate caregiver. This means that you have taken your pets’ needs to another level. You have found the perfect person to take over as caregiver if the designated caregiver ends up moving to a place that does not allow pets, decides to choose a life with a lot of travel, or becomes ill or infirm.

Trusts add another layer of directive, and can designate someone different to handle the money from the designee who will have custody of your pets. A trust creates a system of checks and balances. Copies of all your documents should be given to the executor or trustee of your estate.

To fulfill the loving care you give your pet, please make certain that you have posted emergency signs on your door stating what types of pets are inside, and how many. Please remember to carry a similar card in your wallet.

If you are giving your pets to a rescue organization, make sure that they are aware of this ahead of time. They need to know your executor’s name and contact information. That way, if there is any change in their organization or their organization’s status, they can contact your executor.

A well-drafted pet trust doesn’t need to be expensive. We can want to help you care for the welfare of your pet, even if you are not around to do it personally. Call 216-831-0042 to speak to Albert G. Hehr, III Esq. at Meyers Roman Friedberg & Lewis.