Pet Trust Funds

Pet Trust Funds

by Elisa

Pippa - A bit of Turkish Angora and Van in her. Note the vestigal van markings on the forehead. She's got Turkey in her..!

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Pippa - A bit of Turkish Angora and Van in her. Note the vestigal van markings on the forehead. She's got Turkey in her..!

Pet trust funds are just one more way the world is changing on how we view our pets. Once thought of as a rich persons eccentricities, pet trust funds are now being drawn up for the average owner. This is simply an issue of wanting to provide the best possible care for a pet should the unthinkable happen and the pet owner pass away.

Pet owners shouldn't be embarrassed to ask their attorney about drawing up a pet trust fund document to provide for the ongoing care of a beloved pet. Charges range from $40 to $2500, depending on how complicated the provisions are.

Pet owners are advised to leaved a minimum of $20000 in case their pet should face a life threatening illness. This may sound like a small fortune, but a bout with cancer could wipe these funds out in a very short period of time.

I've spent a lot of time studying the different reasons pets are relinquished to a shelter. A major reason for shelter turn-ins state "death of owner." It's heartbreaking to think we may love a pet for many years, but upon our death it becomes "expendible." Either the money isn't there for long term care or the issue of who should care for the pet never came up while the owner was alive.

I personally knew a man who passed away about 10 years ago. His death was sudden and the family was surprised to find he had two small dogs living in his back yard. Because no arrangements had been made prior to his death, both pets were carted off to the shelter like yesterdays garbage. I hate I wasn't informed of this until long after they were taken to the shelter and most likely to their death.

Many senior cats are turned into the shelter for this very reason. Not only does a pet have to deal with the loss of it's owner (and pets do grieve), but their very lives depend on us taking the time to work out a plan for their care. It's simply being a responsible pet owner.

Personally, I recommend an individual to agree to care for the pet. For one thing, cat sanctuaries are not always what they advertise themselves to be. Or they may go out of business due to the bad economy. A loving friend or family member is the best choice. Pet trust funds ensure your last wishes and the financial needs of a pet are met.

Have any of you looked into this option? Next to a will (both living will and last will), a pet trust fund may be the most important document you ever sign.

In closing, I'd also like to add provisions should also be made in the event of serious illness or the owner. Many pets also lose their homes when the owner is placed in a nursing home or other long term facility.

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Pet Trust Funds

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Apr 18, 2012
by: Michael

Thanks for this Elisa. I think most people rely on an informal arrangement under which it is hopped that a relative will deal with the deceased's pet's properly. But of course as you imply you can't always rely on that happening.

As you might remember, I took on my late mother's black three legged cat, Charlie. There was no request by my mother to do so. In fact I don't think she had any document drawn up that mentioned her cats - strange because she loved cats. I don't think her Will mentioned them either.

As a consequence they were dealt with in a slightly disorganised way. I have no idea what happened to another black cat she had rescued and which had become a house cat.

So yes, it seems that Pet trust funds are a formal way of creating a binding agreement between the estate of the deceased person and the cat caretaker assigned the role of caring for the cats (pets) who is paid for the task.

I think it should happen more often as you say. You can't rely on the good nature of relatives after your death! Some of them fight over the money, LoL, and forget about the pets.

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