Trinity Elder Law - April 2020

The Power of Pet Trusts Peace of Mind Post W ith National Pet Day coming up on April 11, it reminds me how important our four-legged family members are to us. They’re there for us when we feel stress or WHO WILL CARE FOR YOUR ANIMALS WHEN YOU’RE GONE? APRIL 2020

anxiety and help us forget about our troubles. I’ve always had pets, including some that are larger than your typical furry friend, like my horses. I have five horses: Spitty, Slappy, Rascal, Sassy, and Tiny. They all have different personalities, and in their own ways, they help make every day brighter than the last. Spitty, short for SpitFire, is 22 years old, which is getting up there for a horse. She’s eccentric, with a lot of little quirks. Spitty likes to have her chin scratched, but she never wants to be inside her stall. She’s my oldest horse, but with her opinionated personality, you would never realize it! Slappy, on the other hand, is very mellow. She’s delightful and is always eager to receive attention. Slappy loves to be petted, groomed, and fed treats. She is a little younger than Spitty but not by much, as she’s 19 years old. Whenever I’m in a bad mood, she always reminds me of the simple pleasures in life with how excited she gets just to see me. Rascal is a little different from the rest of them. In general, he doesn’t like to be bothered. He lays his ears to the side of his head and makes a grumpy face whenever we need to direct him to a different stall. In fact, Rascal can be a little cranky at times — he likes to neigh and hum whenever we give him too much attention. While Spitty can be very opinionated, Sassy takes the cake — she loves attention, and she snorts and neighs if you’re in the barn and not focusing on her. If you’re tending to another horse, she gets jealous and makes her presence known by neighing even louder! The only way to stop her tantrum is to give her treats — she loves treats. Tiny, ironically enough, is really big. I often describe him as my 6-foot-tall, 14-year-old boy that doesn’t focus very well. He’s actually 4 years old and has plenty of toys. He has a treat that hangs in the stall for him to chew on and two balls that he likes to roll around. I haven’t taught him soccer yet, but I’m working on it.

Tiny when he was actually tiny.

Regardless how big your four-legged family members are, they can be a calming influence when you feel like everything is falling apart. For this reason and many others, you need to make a plan for their future in case you are ever unable to care for them. The best way to do this is to include a pet trust into your will. A pet trust indicates who will care for your pets and outlines resources for them to use. When establishing a pet trust, you need first to consider who you know that’s familiar with the type of animals you have. The person you choose also needs to have the knowledge base to handle any of your animals’ medical or geographic needs. For my horses, I thought about who I know that understands what makes for a great stall/housing situation and has knowledge of the dietary and medical needs of horses. After you’ve identified who will care for your animals, you then need to determine how much money you need to set aside for their care. This entails considering how old your pets are, if they’re prone to any illnesses, and how many animals you have. After you’ve considered these factors, you then need to identify who is going to manage that money. It needs to be someone who understands the needs of your pets and how the funds should be used. A pet trust is a concrete way to ensure your furry family members are properly taken care of when you’re gone, and it’s something no animal lover should overlook. If you have any questions or concerns regarding pet trusts, never hesitate to reach out. We can

ensure your pets will always be cared for, just like my own 6-foot- tall, four-legged kids.

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