Skip to content

Considerations When Creating a Pet Trust in Pennsylvania

by Phil Levin, Esq. on March 1st, 2016

Americans love their pets and often feel connected to their animals as part of a family unit. The American Pet Products Association reported that our country spent about $58 billion on pets in 2014. Pet care costs—whether for a cat, dog, bird, horse, or other animals—can be considerable and are often unpredictable. How can the well-being of a pet be ensured if a pet owner dies?

Pet trusts are formal legal arrangements that provide specific instructions and funding for the care of pets. Fortunately, Pennsylvania is one of the states that has specific legislation regulating the creation of pet trusts. In addition to providing for the continued care of one’s pets, creating a pet trust allows the assets held in the trust to pass outside the probate process, eliminating judicial intervention. This can prevent court delays and unnecessary expenses, as well as expedite ability of the caretaker you select, as designated in your Pet Trust, to provide the appropriate care for your pet.

  1. Medical Needs –  As part of the dollar amount reported above, $15 billion was spent on veterinary care. Aside from routine expenses and the cost of emergencies, potential chronic health conditions should be considered when forecasting future pet care costs. Over the past few years, the pet hospice care industry has grown. This service typically costs approximately 25% more on average than comparable in-home programs and this potential extra care expense should be considered when funding a Pet Trust.
  2. Pet Residence – An estate plan which includes a Pet Trust not only helps to detail where a pet will reside after the pet’s owner passes away, but can also provide direction for the pet’s care in the event the owner becomes ill or incapacitated. Many seniors require long-term care and the costs for LTC are rising. Although there are pet-friendly assisted living communities in Pennsylvania, many nursing homes are not pet-friendly. Therefore, it is important to decide in advance where the owner wishes their pet to live, in the event the owner’s living situation does not allow pets.
  3. Temporary and Permanent Care –  It is now very common and also prudent for a pet owner to leave specific instructions for a friend or family member to provide pet care for the remainder of the pet’s life, as well as to earmark funds for this purpose. The successor care provider might need time to prepare their home and to make arrangements for the transport of the pet.
  4. Plan Now To Protect Your Pet –  Who will care for your pet if you are unable to do so? Deciding and designating a caregivers in Pet Trust, established under the terms of your Last Will and Testament, can help ensure that a loved pet is taken care of in accordance with your wishes, alleviate confusion among surviving family members, and minimize stress for your pet.

Please contact The Levin Law Firm at (610) 977-2443 to arrange a consultation to discuss your estate planning needs, along with the establishment and funding of a Pet Trust to provide for the future care of your loved pets.

If you wish to establish or update your estate plan, or have questions regarding estate planning matters, please call The Levin Law Firm at (610) 977-2443 to arrange a complimentary consultation with estate planning attorney Phil Levin, Esq.

From → Articles

Comments are closed.