How Can I Ensure that My Pet is Taken Care of After I’m Gone?

How Can I Ensure that My…

Many Michigan residents have beloved pets that they consider to be members of their family. Especially for individuals who have no children or whose children have grown up and no longer live at home, pets can be a great source of comfort and affection. Good pet owners often wonder what will become of their pets if they should suddenly pass away or become incapacitated and unable to care for their pets. Fortunately, there is a solution under Michigan law.

A pet trust or pet care trust is an estate planning mechanism that allows you to make provisions for your pet when you are gone or otherwise unable to care for your pet. In very general terms, a pet trust allows you to set aside a certain sum or source of money to care for your pet, whether it is for veterinary bills, food, medicine, or other similar pet-related needs. You also can designate a person or persons (i.e., a trustee) to control the trust in terms of providing financial support for your pet. There are two different types of pet trusts. A testamentary trust allows you to plan for your pet’s care following your death. An inter vivos trust provides for the care of your pet if you become unable to care for him or her.

One drawback to a Michigan pet trust is the fact that state law only permits the trust to last for 21 years. For particularly long-living pets, this can be problematic. Therefore, for pets that could surpass a 21-year life span, such as parrots, horses, or tortoises, you will need to make alternate provisions for their care after this 21-year period.

Whether you have a beloved pet or another issue that needs to be part of your estate plan, you need an attorney who can provide you the help necessary to create an estate plan that is right for you and your family. Taking this step will alleviate problems with your assets in the future, which can be costly, time-consuming, and complex. At Legacy Law Center, our Ann Arbor elder law attorneys can help you through any situations that may arise as you work through the estate planning process.

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