top of page

Pet Trusts

Mistake #1: I just noticed I didn't sign my Pet Trust

One mistake that can occur when creating a pet trust is failing to sign the document. Signing the pet trust document is an essential step to validate and enforce the provisions contained within it. Without a proper signature, the legal validity of the trust may be called into question, potentially leading to complications and challenges in carrying out the intended provisions.

Signing the pet trust document confirms the grantor's intention to create the trust and ensures its authenticity. It indicates that the grantor understands and approves of the terms and conditions specified within the trust. Additionally, signing the document is necessary to comply with the legal requirements of trust creation and execution.

To avoid this mistake, it is crucial for the grantor to thoroughly review the pet trust document and ensure that all necessary signatures are included. This includes the signature of the grantor(s), trustee(s), and any witnesses, as required by the applicable laws of the jurisdiction.Additionally, it may be helpful for the grantor to consult with an attorney specializing in estate planning or animal law to ensure all legal requirements are met in creating and executing the pet trust. Professional guidance can help prevent errors and ensure that the pet trust is legally binding and enforceable.

Ultimately, ensuring that the pet trust document is properly signed and executed is essential to provide clear instructions and legal protection for the welfare and care of one's pets in the event of incapacity or death.


Mistake #2: I used a Pet Trust template I found on the internet

Creating a pet trust and relying solely on a generic template found online without customizing it to reflect one's specific circumstances and personal information. While templates can provide a starting point and a general framework for drafting a pet trust, they should not be used as a one-size-fits-all solution.

A pet trust should be tailored to address the specific needs and desires of the pet owner and the unique requirements of their pets. This includes including detailed information about the pets, such as their names, species, breeds, ages, medical conditions, dietary needs, and any special instructions or preferences regarding their care.

Furthermore, it is essential to include specific provisions related to funding the trust, appointing a trustee or caregiver, determining the duration of the trust, and outlining the distribution of any remaining assets after the pets' demise. These provisions should be carefully considered and drafted to align with the owner's wishes and circumstances.

By not personalizing a pet trust, the document may fail to accurately reflect the pet owner's intentions and may not adequately address the specific needs of the pets or fulfill the legal requirements of the jurisdiction. This could lead to confusion, disputes, or challenges in executing the trust or ensuring proper care for the pets.

Mistake #3: I believe that a Pet Trust is complete in and of itself

Failing to reference the pet trust in other estate planning documents, such as the living trust, will, or power of attorney for asset management, can jeopardize the smooth execution of the pet owner's wishes and the proper care of their pets.

When creating a pet trust, it is essential to ensure that all relevant estate planning documents are appropriately coordinated and aligned with each other. Simply creating a separate pet trust without referencing it in other legal documents may result in inconsistencies, conflicts, or difficulties in implementing the intended plan.

To avoid this mistake, pet owners should make sure that the pet trust is integrated into their overall estate plan. This may involve referencing the pet trust within their living trust, will, or power of attorney for asset management explicitly.

In the living trust, the pet trust can typically be referenced as a separate section or exhibit, clearly outlining the provisions for the care of the pets. This will ensure that the assets set aside for the pets' care are properly transferred into the trust and that the trustee or caregiver appointed in the pet trust is provided with the necessary authority and instructions.

Similarly, the will should reference the existence of the pet trust and specify that the pets' care and any related assets should be handled according to the pet trust's provisions.Additionally, it is essential to mention the pet trust in the power of attorney for asset management, which grants authority to a designated person to handle one's financial affairs in case of incapacity. Including language that recognizes the existence of the pet trust and allows the designated agent to manage the pets' financial aspects can ensure smooth continuity of care should the pet owner become unable to manage their own affairs.

By properly referencing the pet trust in all relevant estate planning documents, pet owners can ensure that their wishes for their pets' care and well-being are consistently reflected and legally enforceable. Seeking guidance from an attorney experienced in estate planning can be immensely helpful in coordinating these various documents to create a comprehensive and seamless plan for the future of the pets.


Mistake #4: I have named my current pets in the Pet Trust

Pets can come and go for many reasons throughout their lives, and their circumstances will likely change over time. Instead, it is advisable to make reference with a more general description, such as "my current and future pets" or "the animals I own at the time of my passing."

By using a more flexible wording, you allow for changes in your pet's circumstances without needing to update the trust document every time a new pet enters your life or an existing pet passes away. This ensures that the trust remains valid and effective regardless of the specific animals involved.Additionally, it can be beneficial to include provisions that allow for amendments or updates to the trust document as needed. This gives you the flexibility to make changes whenever necessary, whether it is adding a new pet, updating the care instructions, or appointing new trustees or caregivers.

By avoiding the mistake of naming specific animals in the pet trust and using a more general approach, you create a document that can be easily updated and changed to reflect your changing circumstances and the needs of your pets.


Mistake #5: I don't have any extra money to put in an account for my Pet Trust

Failing to fund a pet trust is a common mistake that can render it ineffective. It's important to understand that a pet trust must be funded to ensure that there are sufficient financial resources available for your pet's care.

To fund a pet trust, you typically transfer assets or funds into the trust, specifically designated for the care of your pet. These assets can be in the form of cash, investments, property, or other valuable assets. By funding the trust, you ensure that there are resources available to cover your pet's expenses, such as food, veterinary care, grooming, and any other needs they may have.

Failing to fund the pet trust can have serious consequences. Without proper funding, there may not be enough financial resources available to provide for your pet's care according to your wishes. In such cases, your pet's care could potentially become a burden on family members or fall to the goodwill of other individuals who may not be legally obligated to fulfill your intent.

When creating a pet trust, it is important to work with an attorney who can guide you through the process and help you properly fund the trust. They can assist you in identifying and transferring appropriate assets into the trust and ensuring that the trust is adequately funded.Remember, proper funding of a pet trust is crucial to provide for your pet's ongoing care and avoid any potential challenges to the trust's enforceability.


Mistake #6: I don't have any way of funding my Pet Trust

Overlooking the potential of purchasing a term life insurance policy and naming the pet trust as the beneficiary can be a significant mistake when creating a pet trust.

Life insurance can be a valuable tool for providing financial security for your pet's care in the event of your passing. By designating the pet trust as the beneficiary of the life insurance policy, you can ensure that there will be a sufficient amount of funds available to provide for your pet's ongoing care even after you're no longer able to do so.

A term life insurance policy is a popular choice for this purpose since it provides coverage for a specific period of time. This means you can select a policy that covers the expected lifespan of your pet, ensuring that they will be cared for until the end of their life. The death benefit received from the life insurance policy can then be used to fund the pet trust and cover your pet's expenses as outlined in your trust document.

By failing to consider purchasing a term life insurance policy and naming the pet trust as the beneficiary, you risk leaving your pet without adequate financial support after your passing. It's crucial to discuss this option with an insurance agent or financial advisor who can help you determine the appropriate amount of coverage and ensure that the policy is structured in accordance with your wishes.

Remember, a well-funded pet trust provides essential financial support for your pet's care, and utilizing a term life insurance policy can be a wise strategy to ensure their well-being even after you're no longer here.


Trust 2 FAQ.png
bottom of page