Taking Care of Your Thoroughbred

Written by Jim Worthington on May 2, 2022

Happy Kentucky Derby! Louisville is buzzing with the first Derby Week in three years that feels halfway normal. Despite the “Why Work? It’s Derby Week” t-shirts around town, I’m plugging away. In fact, all of this talk about two-year-old thoroughbreds made me think about pet trusts. Both Kentucky and North Carolina recognize these trusts that let you leave money to care for your beloved domestic animals after your death.

Your “thoroughbred” may be a mixed breed hound with a strong prey instinct like the one pictured above. Maybe, it’s an American Shorthair cat. You may even have a beloved horse that’s retired from the show ring. They’re  an important part of your family, and a pet trust can help make sure there’s enough money to take care of them. Especially for an older companion animal, doing this prevents future care expenses from being a burden on the person who provides that forever home.

You’ll want to discuss the terms of the pet trust with your lawyer. Before that meeting, here are a few things to think about:

  1. How much money will care cost? You can look at your own receipts for food, treats, boarding, medicine, and vet services. If your pet is older or has health issues, ask your veterinarian for some help estimating future costs.
  2. Who will manage this money? It doesn’t have to be the same person who cares for the animal. If you choose different people to provide the care and to manage the funds, will they be able to work together? Will the person managing the money want a fee?
  3. Who should receive any money that’s left over after the pet’s lifetime?