“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself.”  This quote from 19th century American humorist Josh Billings is one of my favorites.  I love it because it reminds me of all of the joy I have experienced from the various dogs I have had as pets.  Many of us have experienced this same kind of love and companionship from our pets.  It is quite natural for us to treat our pets almost as if they were a beloved family member.  Perhaps you have wondered what would happen to your pet if you passed away?  Who would take care of it?  Where would it live?  Without instructions from you regarding answers to these questions, your pet may not be treated the way you would have wanted when you are gone.  You may have also wondered whether you could set aside some money to ensure that it is used to provide for and care for your pet.

Fortunately, most states have enacted laws that allow for pet trusts.  A pet trust works similarly to other types of trusts.  You can name a trustee and give instructions in the trust instrument regarding how trust assets are to be used in relation to your pet.  You can also specify who you would like to take care of your pet.  In Utah, pet trusts are valid.  The trust will terminate when no living animal is covered by the trust.  In the trust, you can specify to whom the trust assets get distributed after the trust terminates.

To set up a pet trust, you should consult with an attorney experienced in estate planning.  An attorney will help you make sure that all of the legal requirements for your trust have been complied with.

For additional reading:

An Asset Protection Trust

Supplemental Needs Trust


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