You can not challenge the fact that families regard their 4-legged furry companion as a family member. There are “doggy spas” for dogs to relax and doggy day cares that pick up and drop of your dog in the morning and evening. After all, you want your dog to socialize during the day and not be sitting at home alone while you work.
If you live in Miami or Fort Lauderdale, it is safe to assume that you would want to take care of your animals when you pass away. With the help of an estate planning attorney in South Florida you can do just that by preparing a Pet Trust. Attorney Staci Hershey at The Hershey Law Firm, can help you with that.
Under Florida Law Statute 736.0408 a Pet Trust is created to allow you to decide who will take care of your pet when you are no longer able to do so. The trustee will monitor the caretaker to ensure he or she provides the proper care. The caretaker will handle the day-to-day needs of your pet.
The trust should be funded with sufficient assets or property to care for your pet for its expected lifetime. You should take into consideration any medical conditions. Funds can be used for travel, food, vet care, insurance, toys, treats, pet sitting, recreational activities.
Under Florida law a pet is considered personal property and as such your pet must go through Florida probate just like a house or other personal assets.
Since probate is a long process it is important to create a document which provides for the care and needs of your pets. Most people prepare pet trusts for their dogs and cats but also for animals that may live 30 to 50 years after you pass away (turtles, birds). The trust is only allowed for named animals that exist at the time the Settlor is alive to be taken care of. Once the animals pass away, any remaining funds are distributed.
Joan Rivers once said, “Doggies are better companions than a husband because they didn’t leave the seat up!”
If you wish to care for your pets and want to discuss the possibility of setting up a Pet Trust, call an experienced South Florida estate planning attorney.
Contact The Hershey Law Firm at (954) 303-9468 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your estate planning needs and concerns.