For many of us, pets are like family. And like our family, we want to ensure our pets are cared for when we are no longer able to care for them ourselves. Sadly, we all too often see posts on Facebook or other social media of a sad pet who needs a new home because their owner has died.
If you become incapacitated or die, you will want to arrange for the short-term and long-term care of your pets.
Illinois law gives pet owners the option of creating a pet trust to care for them when they are gone. The Pet Trust Act (760 ILCS 5/15.2) is a legal document that permits people in Illinois to create trusts for the benefit of one or more of their companion animals through their estate plans:
Concerned pet owners can now set aside funds for the care of their animals, and can designate a trustee to manage the fund for the care, support and medical needs of their pets. They also can name the physical custodian of their pet.
A pet trust creates a legal requirement that your money is spent on your pet according to your wishes. You can name a person or financial institution to be the trustee to manage the money in the trust, as well as designate a beneficiary who will be your pet’s caregiver using the money in the trust you created. You can also leave instructions on what should happen if there are any remaining funds in the trust after your pet passes away, or what happens if your designated caregiver becomes unable to care for your pet.
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Pets are faithful companions, and you want to make sure your pet is provided for when you no longer can care for them. It’s important to make a legal arrangement in your will or a pet trust to make sure your pet is properly cared for. An experienced estate planning attorney can help you create legal documents that ensure your pet is cared for when you no longer can.
For help setting up a pet trust or for other estate planning assistance, contact the experienced estate planning attorneys at Estate and Probate Legal Group at 630-864-5835.