Does Florida Allow for a Pet Trust?
When you are working on your estate plan and are ensuring that your entire family is taken care of, you don’t want to forget your beloved pets too. Many people have fur babies, and it’s understandable that you want to ensure they are well taken care of in the event something happens to you. Some states allow you to set up what’s known as a pet trust. This includes Florida.
Under Florida law, you can create a trust that addresses your pets’ needs. Your beloved fur baby can be the named beneficiary of a trust, something you can’t do in every state. Basically, this is a legal agreement that outlines a plan for care and funds for taking care of your pets. Your trust can set forth instructions for a variety of pet-related needs, including health care, exercise, living arrangements, diet, and burial plans.
If you have questions or need assistance with a trust for your pets, you need to speak with an experienced Orlando pet trusts attorney. You want someone who has the knowledge and expertise to help ensure your pets are well-taken care of.
Can You Just Use a Will to Care for Your Pets?
Unfortunately, a will treats pets as property. The same situation applies if you are married and get divorced. The law has not evolved enough to recognize that people treat their pets as full-fledged family members, and the idea of them being treated as property in a will or a divorce is heart-breaking. Thankfully, Florida laws allow for some additional protection for them.
If you choose to address your pets in a will, they are viewed no differently than a sofa in your living room or a vehicle. There is no way to leave money to your sofa or sportscar. The courts will not enforce specific instructions in your will regarding your pet either. If you want your cat fed certain food and put that in your will, the court has no authority to demand someone feed the cat that particular brand of food.
Probate can take a long time, which means your pet won’t be cared for immediately either. Also, wills only apply if you pass away. What happens to your pet if you become incapacitated?
Tips for Creating a Pet Trust
Working with an attorney who specializes in pet trusts is highly recommended. Your Orlando pet trusts attorney will talk about options to name a caregiver and possibly a separate trustee who is the one responsible for administration of the funds. Your attorney will discuss options to make sure there is enough money to last throughout your pet’s life. In other words, don’t give a lump sum. It’s better to have regular payments made, otherwise, there’s a chance there will be nothing left.
It’s sad to have to think about this, but you want to make sure to specifically identify your pet in the trust. Don’t give someone the opportunity to switch your pet out with another one in order to keep receiving funds after one dies. Detailed descriptions that include medical treatment, microchip information, photos, etc., can all help.
Contact a Florida Pet Trust Attorney
If you need assistance with a pet trust in Florida, contact an Orlando pet trust attorney at the Law Offices of Shea A. Fugate, P.A. today to schedule an initial consultation. As an active animal advocate in the community, we would love to help you create a trust for your own fur baby.