Yesterday I mentioned that pet trusts are now authorized in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Before I get into more detail on how pet trusts work, I think I should tell you about other, perhaps simpler, pet planning options, and what resources are available.
The simplest pet planning option, in my opinion, is to leave your pets to a trusted family member or friend along with a gift in recognition of the sacrifice that the recipient will make to care for the animals. Note the way I worded that: I don’t think of the gift as being direct compensation for the cost of caring for the pets, but as a gift in gratitude for the money and time that your family member or friend will devote to the pets’ care. You can, if you prefer, think of the gift as being compensation for the cost of care, but the estimate will necessarily be inexact and won’t compensate for the time that will be devoted to the pets’ care.
This method depends, of course, on there being a trusted family member or friend who is willing and able to take over the care of your pets. Many people don’t have that option. One alternative is the program some animal welfare organizations have developed that involves a gift to the organization coupled with the organization doing its best to place the pet for adoption.
There’s also the option available through some animal welfare organizations for the pets to be placed in foster homes and offered for adoption through the organization.
One local animal welfare organization that I have heard good things about, and that I know is experienced in handling pets left orphaned, is The Animal League of Green Valley. They are an independent, donation-funded, all-volunteer organization with a shelter and thrift store in Green Valley. They’ve been around for over 30 years.
Next I’ll go into some of the mechanics of pet trusts and how they differ from the other methods I have discussed.
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