Did you know that with a pet trust you can put your pet(s) in your estate plan?

It’s true! Even some celebrities have trusts for their pets. As an estate planner, I love helping people make sure their loved ones are cared for after they pass away. But when you think of loved ones, it’s usually not just our family members that come to mind. Our pets, (and their unwavering loyalty and companionship) often hold a special place in our hearts. 

That’s why it’s important that you also consider their well being in your estate plan — and I’m going to tell you how to do it. We’ll discuss how to take care of your pets, plan for their future, and handle long-lived or unique animals.

person signing legal document

What is a Pet Trust and How Do I Make One?

You are the voice for your pets. They completely rely on you to care and support them — and nobody knows them better than you. Which is why it’s essential to plan for their future on your estate plan. One effective way you can ensure their continued care is by including your pet in your trust.

Pet trusts are legal arrangements created to provide for the ongoing care and well being of your pet after your death or incapacitation. The most common way to use a trust for your pet is to include your pet in your overall estate plan. This means appointing someone to be the custodian of your pet, or providing vetted options you trust for your pet. You can express your wishes, provide guidelines for veterinary care, and designate funds to provide food, healthcare and treats into the future. Generally the person or organization taking custody of your pet will receive a distribution. However, you could have the funds remain in a trust account. In that case your trustee would be responsible for distributing money as needed to the custodian or paying bills directly.

Your Pet Trust Will Include Detailed Instructions

One of the key features of a pet trust is you’re able to give detailed instructions for the care of your pets. You should list information such as dietary needs, exercise routine, grooming, medical care, and any other specifics in the trust.

When you’re establishing a pet trust with your estate planner, you’ll want to consider several different factors: the type of pet, their age, health status, and anticipated lifespan. For example, older pets (or ones with medical conditions) might require more extensive care. These pets will probably also need additional financial resources.

By outlining detailed instructions for their daily needs, medical care, and any other specific preferences you may have — you can have peace of mind that your pets will get the care they deserve!

dog with sunglasses

Celebrities Who Have Pet Trusts

Yes, even some celebrities have pet trusts!

Oprah Winfrey set up a pet trust for her dogs to inherit $30 million dollars when she passes away.
(Since she never had any children, she wanted to make sure someone will take care of her pets.) Even the late Betty White left most of her estate (estimated to be about $75 million) to animal charities. She also made provisions for the care of her pets through a pet trust as well. 

Another celebrity who’s known for her love of animals (specifically cats) is Taylor Swift.

She’s a proud cat mom to her 3 cats named Meredith Grey, Olivia Benson, and Benjamin Button. While Swift hasn’t disclosed any details publicly about a pet trust, given her love for cats, it wouldn’t be surprising if she made arrangements for them in her estate plan! (Her cat Olivia is worth $97 million just by herself!)

Most of us know that Simon Cowell (the music executive and TV personality) loves dogs. He’s been very vocal about his devotion to his canine companions. Cowell has reportedly made arrangements to make sure his pets are well taken care of through a pet trust.

These examples highlight the growing trend among celebrities to prioritize the wellbeing of their pets through estate planning measures such as pet trusts. By establishing these trusts, celebrities are able to provide for their pets needs. The trust guarantees that a trusted individual will care for their pets — even after the celebrities are no longer able to do so themselves.

Society is continuing to recognize the importance of pets as cherished members of the family. Pet trusts serve as a way to make sure that these beloved animals receive the love, attention, and resources they deserve, regardless of their owner’s circumstances.

three horses in a field

What About Livestock or Nontraditional Pets?

Livestock and nontraditional pets (think snakes, tortoises, or birds) present additional challenges. These animals have unique requirements for their care, can have very long lifespans, and may not be everyone’s cup of tea. Not everyone can take on the responsibility for an animal that may live for 30 years. Advance planning is one of the most responsible and loving tasks you can perform for these companions.

How Schroeder Larsen Law Can Help You

When you take these steps, you can guarantee that your pets will receive the care and attention they need. Even when you are no longer able to provide or care for them yourself. By planning ahead, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that your beloved pet will be well cared for throughout their life!

At Schroeder Larsen Law, I can help you put together a legally secure estate plan that looks out for your pets too. As someone who loves pets, I know how crucial it is to be sure that all family members, (whether furry or not), are taken care of when you’re no longer around. Whether you need help setting up a pet trust, designating caretakers for your pets, or creating specific instructions for their care in your estate plan — I’m here to make the process easier for you.

Contact Schroeder Larsen Law today to schedule a consultation and start planning for the future of your amazing pets!