Have you made arrangements for your pet in the event of your death? Do you know who will take care of your beloved animal? Will that person be able to fund your pet’s medical and living expenses? Most people never consider these issues even though they are vital to your pet’s quality of life.
The only way to ensure your pet is taken care of is to structure your Last Will and Testament appropriately. Sure, you can ask your family or friend to adopt your pet if you die but this should also be done in writing. The person who ultimately ends up with your animal should be named as a beneficiary of your pet in your Will.
As for the financing, you can leave that person a ‘thank you’ gift. However that won’t force them to use the money to look after your pets. For this, you will need to set up a trust. Section 5804.08 title 58 of the Ohio revised code sets out the requirements of such a trust.
You need to designate a person to manage the trust property on behalf of your pets. This person is called the trustee. It is advisable to keep the carer of your pet and the trustee as separate persons.
Here are some other tips for setting up a pet trust in your Ohio Will:
- Name someone to enforce the conditions of the trust (ie: a person to represent your pet legally if the trustee starts abusing the funds);
- Name the beneficiaries who are to receive any remaining balance once the trust ends (this will be once the last covered animal dies);
- Don’t be excessive. The trust can only legally hold funds and property sufficient for the care of your pet. The court has the power to remove anything beyond what is reasonable. The excess goes to the persons you name to receive the residue.
Read the legislation below taken directly from the statute: 5804.08 Trust to provide for care of animal. (A) A trust may be created to provide for the care of an animal alive during the settlor’s lifetime. The trust terminates upon the death of the animal or, if the trust was created to provide for the care of more than one animal alive during the settlor’s lifetime, upon the death of the last surviving animal. (B) A person appointed in the terms of a trust or, if no person is so appointed, a person appointed by the court may enforce a trust authorized by this section. A person having an interest in the welfare of an animal that is provided care by a trust authorized by this section may request the court to appoint a person to enforce the trust or to remove a person appointed. (C) The property of a trust authorized by this section may be applied only to its intended use, except to the extent the court determines that the value of the trust property exceeds the amount required for the intended use. Except as otherwise provided in the terms of the trust, property not required for the intended use must be distributed to the settlor if then living or to the settlor’s successors in interest.