THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE DERBY WINNER: PET TRUSTS FOR THE REST AND FOR OTHER COMPANION ANIMALS
Written by Jim Worthington on April 28, 2019
As I write this post, we are six days away from the Run for the Roses. The winning two-year-old will likely have a lifetime of future races and breeding services. But most animals don’t provide profit to their human companions; they provide company, comfort, eyes and ears, protection, and other benefits.
What happens if a companion animal’s human predeceases it? Usually, a family member or friend welcomes it into his or her home. Some human companions want to go further and provide resources for the care and feeding of the animal.
As of July 15, 2014, Kentucky trusts can be used to provide those resources. KRS 386B.4-080 authorized what are commonly called “pet trusts.” These allow a person to create a trust that takes effect during his or her lifetime or after his or her death. The trustee will manage the trust’s assets to provide for the animal’s care during its lifetime. If the trust provides for more than one animal, the trust continues through the last animal’s lifetime.
All trusts require careful planning for the future. Some of the particular topics to consider for a pet trust include:
- How long is the trust likely to last? For example, horses and parrots are two common subjects of pet trusts and have long life expectancies. The trust should be big enough to outlast the animal(s).
- What standards should the trustee follow?
- Is there a particular food that should be purchased?
- What types of veterinary care are appropriate?
- Should one animal’s veterinary care be allowed to exhaust the trust to the detriment of another animal?
- What happens if the initial caretaker for the animal can no longer fill that role?
- To whom should the trustee distribute the remainder of the trust at the last animal’s death?
An experienced estate planning lawyer will be able to help with these and other questions.