pet trust
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Planning Ahead With a Pet Trust

Protect Your Pets in the Future

horse trustPet Trust

A pet trust establishes a trust fund for taking care of your pets in the event of your death or disability. It does not however, establish ownership of the pets which terms should be incorporated in the owner's will. While the trust will establish the financial security of the pets, it does not establish who will physically take care of the pets or where it will done.

State Law

Laws establishing the ability to create a pet trust vary from state to state. For example, Florida law allows you to set up a trust for your horse's care. Under Florida law it is possible to create a trust, known as a Pet Trust, for the care of your horse. If you have a horse or horses, would you like to provide instructions for its care if you are no longer able to do so due to your death or disability?

Creating a Pet Trust

By creating a Pet Trust under Florida law, you can provide for the care of your horse. (1) A trust may be created to provide for the care of an animal alive during the settlor's lifetime. The trust terminates on the death of the animal or, if the trust was created to provide for the care of more than one animal alive during the settlor's lifetime, on the death of the last surviving animal. (2) A trust authorized by this section may be enforced by a person appointed in the terms of the trust or, if no person is appointed, by a person appointed by the court. A person having an interest in the welfare of the animal may request the court to appoint a person to enforce the trust or to remove a person appointed.

Property of a Trust

Property of a trust authorized by this section may be applied only to the intended use of the property, except to the extent the court determines that the value of the trust property exceeds the amount required for the intended use.

Except as otherwise provided in the terms of the trust, property not required for the intended use must be distributed to the settlor, if then living, otherwise as part of the settlor's estate. Here is an easy to use form that can be used to set up a pet trust. Sample trust form.

Foever Home for Horses

Many people want to give their horses a forever home, but do not consider they must be around to provide the means for that forever home to survive. If they become mentally or physically disabled, or they die, all bets are off unless they have provided instructions on about the fate of their pets and horses. Those instructions should be documented in both a living will and a last will and testament. In most cases, if a person becomes mentally disabled, a person gets power of attorney to deal with their affairs.

The person who has power of attorney may deal with the subjects assets as they see fit unless there are specific instructions as to those assets which would include continued care of any pets and horses. .

Will

A trust is usually referred to in a person's will where instructions for disbursement of assets is set forth. Typically there is money and property that is dealt with and horses are considered property in the legal sense. Thus, instructions in the will may provide that the horses be sold, given away, or are to be taken care of using a trust fund that has been established for this purpose. It there are no instructions regarding the disposition of the horses, the fate of horses will be a the mercy of whoever is designated as the executor of the will.

If there is no will the courts will designate an executor who will be charged with disbursement of the assets, including any pets, horses, or livestock. This usually leads to continuous law suits and animals do not usually fair well in such instances.

Legal Advice

The foregoing is not intended to be legal advice which can only come from a qualified attorney. Horse owners who want to plan for the well being of their families, pets, and horses should seek legal counsel.


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