Many Florida residents consider their pets to be a part of their families; but will attorneys feel the same when the time comes to execute their wills? Smart estate administrationplanners say you ought to provide financial accommodations for your pets in your will. A variety of options exist to make sure your furry friend is well-off after your passing.

Pet trusts exist specifically to help you provide for your animals after your death. These documents name a trustee and designate an amount that will be set aside for the animals’ care. A traditional pet trust resembles a document that you might create for a child. Those provisions are valid in all 50 states, but they are rather expensive to create, ranging in price from $500 to $1,500.

Estate planners on a budget might consider using a statutory pet trust, a document that is legally binding in 40 states and the District of Columbia. This simple provision requires only an addition of a couple lines of text to your will. Florida law has specific requirements, but your probate attorney can help you fill in the legal gaps.

When you create a pet trust, you must include specific information to ensure your pet’s continued care. First, designate a trustee and caretaker. One person can serve in both roles, if you desire, but naming two different individuals will allow the trustee to make sure the caretaker is not pocketing your pet’s money. You should also consider naming alternate trustees and caregivers in the event that your designees are unable or unwilling to serve.

Your trust should also include caregiving details, such as the type of food your pet will eat, how often they should be taken to the vet and where they should be buried. If you have difficulty funding the trust out of your estate, consider purchasing a life insurance policy and naming your trustee as the beneficiary.

Consult your probate attorney and financial advisor to determine the best course of action for your estate.

Luis E. Barreto