A “Pet Trust” is an estate planning vehicle that allows you to provide for the care and support of your family pet upon your passing. In Maryland, pets and animals are considered tangible personal property, much like your jewelry, or your furniture. However, these beloved pieces of “property” often feel more a part of the family.
Maryland law recognizes this, and allows for something we most often call a pet trust. A pet trust is a legal entity where a person can set aside money for the care of a given animal. These distributions of your money can take many forms. In their simplest iteration, you may allocate a certain dollar amount to be distributed to a person as a “gift” for taking care of a pet after your death. They can also be much more complicated wherein a person may provide a substantial sum of money to be set aside for the care of a particular pet or pets and appoint a caregiver and a separate trustee to manage the money. Restrictions and guidance can be drafted into the distribution to dictate what the trustee can pay out of the trust for the care of the animal.
Pet trusts are not only valuable for our furry friends that keep us company in our homes, but can be valuable for animals such as horses, who may require substantial sums of money for their care.
To some a pet trust may seem like an absurd idea, to others it is a great tool to ensure that a very important member of the family is taken care of.
If you have questions about how to incorporate a pet trust into your estate plan, contact your estate planning attorney for assistance.
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