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Pet Trust Attorney in Boca Raton

What we can offer you

Have you thought about what happens if you predecease your pet? Roughly 65% of Americans own pets, so it’s an important question to ask yourself. Trusts are the best legal option you have if you would like to have control over how your pet is taken care of.

Creating a Trust for Pets in Florida

Pet trusts can get pretty complicated, which is why there are seven questions you need to ask yourself before reaching out to an attorney and creating a trust for your pet:

 

  1. Which pets will you protect with the trust?
  2. Who’s the caretaker you’re leaving your pets with?
  3. How much money do you want to leave behind for your pet’s care?
  4. How should that money be used to take care of the pet?
  5. Who can you trust to protect your wishes for your pet in court?
  6. What happens to money left over after the pet’s passing?
  7. What if you become unable to care for your pet while you’re alive?

 

Pet trusts give you the advantage of controlling the future for your pet but there can be some disadvantages because they’re not as flexible if the situation changes with your pet or if a caretaker no longer wants to care for the pet.

 

In Florida, the person you designate to administer the trust is the one that takes care of your pet. They’ll care for your animals and appropriately use the funds placed in the trust for things like wellness checks, food, medicine, and anything your animal is likely to need.

 

An important note is that pets cannot be added to the trust after the person that establishes the trust passes away. You want to include all of your pets while you’re still alive and decide if you would like to fund your pet trust during your lifetime or upon death. If you choose to fund the trust after you pass on then you can create what’s known as a testamentary pet trust.

Pet Trusts Under Current Florida Law

It wasn’t until 2002 that the state of Florida allowed any type of estate planning to be available for someone’s pet. But with so many pet owners looking for ways to guarantee their pets well being after they pass the Florida legislature introduced F.S. §736.0408,8 under which, a trust can be formed for the lifetime of the pet in order to provide for any necessary care or maintenance. A trust established to care for more than one animal but remain in effect until the end of the final animal’s life.

 

This allows pet owners to create a trust with provisions to properly take care of their pet for the pet’s entire life. Also if multiple pets are named as the beneficiary then the trust is valid until the final animal passes away. Similar to trusts with human beneficiaries, a pet trust can name a trustee or decide to leave it up to the courts to decide.

We’re Dedicated to Securing

Your Pet’s Future

A pet trust should be part of your comprehensive estate plan. For many of our clients, their pets are a key part of their life and they want to make sure that if something happens, their pets will be properly cared for throughout their entire lives.

 

Caring for pets is something that as a law firm, we’re passionate about. Attorney Barry Siegel and his team have been helping clients for years with estate planning to legally protect pets after their owners pass. This passion also runs in the family, Barry’s dad was dedicated to helping animals as he had a very successful veterinary practice in Miami for several years. He was also the president of The Florida Veterinary Medical Association (FVMA).

 

Barry Siegel Father

 

If you’ve decided that a pet trust is for you then now’s the time to start thinking about who you want to care for your pet. Here are some initial steps you can take to get started now:

 

  • Find someone you trust and that is willing to take on the responsibility.
  • You’ll also want to name a successor in case something happens to your first choice
  • Discuss the care your pet needs and what you want for your pet with your designated caregiver.
  • Write down your plan.

 

Legally, there are a few ways you can protect your pets. Creating a letter of instruction is a simple solution if you think there won’t be any objections. In Florida, it’s possible to leave your pet with a caretaker that you designate in your trust or will. You can also leave the caretaker a specific amount of money to take care of your pet’s future expenses.

What to Discuss with Your

Pet Trust Attorney

You’ll want to discuss how to handle any money left over after the pet dies with your lawyer. We’ve had clients pick great pet charities and organizations to donate any extra money not used for the care of their own pets. Some leave the money to other close family members. Consider including a clause in your trust to prevent your heirs from changing your plans on how to care for your pet.

 

You have plenty of choices at your disposal to create a plan that gives you peace of mind knowing your beloved pet is being cared for as completely as possible. If you want to cut through the legal headaches and understand how to ensure your pet’s future, make sure to call The Siegel Law Group, P.A. Our office numbers are 561-955-8515 and 855-FLA-ESTATE