J. Kelly Kennedy, Attorney/CPA, PLLC

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Attorney and CPA

What is the law regarding trusts for the care of pets?

Florida residents who have a pet will undoubtedly understand the fear of that pet being abandoned and uncared for. With that in mind, there is the option to create a trust to care for an animal in the event that something happens to its owner. With this, the trustee will ensure that the animal is cared for and there is a legal document stating that it must be done according to the settlor's wishes. Understanding the law for such a circumstance is imperative to making certain that the care is carried out as requested.

A trust to care for an animal can be created anytime while the animal is alive and can last until the pet's death. If the trust is created for more than one pet, then the trust will continue until the last animal has died. This type of trust is enforced by the person who was appointed in the trust's terms. If no individual was named in the document, then the court can appoint someone to oversee the trust. If there is a person who has an interest in the animal's welfare, he or she can request that there be a person appointed to enforce the trust or to remove the person who was appointed.

If there is property that was authorized for use under the law, allowing a person to take out a trust for the animal's care, it can only be used for the stated purpose unless the court decides that the value of the trust property goes beyond the amount that is required for the intended use. Property that is not required for the intended use will be distributed to the settlor if he or she is living. If not, it will become part of the settlor's estate.

Some might think it unusual for a person to consider a trust for a pet. However, it is a common concern for pet owners. With that in mind, having legal assistance with trust administration for a pet is important. Calling an attorney with experience in a wide variety of cases, even those that might seem unique, is a smart choice.

Source: Florida Legislature, "736.0408 -- Trust for care of an animal.," accessed on Nov. 15, 2016

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