The basic goal of estate or retirement planning is to plan for your future and the future of your family. Most people consider their pets to be part of their families but had to rely on the kindness of family to ensure that pets would be taken care of if you die before your pet. Leaving money for a pet’s care was often a source of litigation and dissension in the family. The Arkansas Pet trust statute that became effective in 2005 has changed this situation.
It is possible to set up a trust to care for your beloved pet if the pet out lives you. The Arkansas statute is based on the Uniform Trust Code.
- Animals must be alive during the settlor’s lifetime
- The trust terminates on
- The death of the animal that is the beneficiary of the trust or
- If created for more than one animal when the last surviving animal dies
- The settlor can appoint a trustee to enforce the trust or a trustee can be named by the court.
- Property of the trust can only be used for the purpose of the trust unless the court determines that the trust property value exceeds the amount needed for the care of the animal.
- Property not needed for the intended use of the trust will be returned to the settlor. If the settlor is deceased, it will be distributed to the successors of the settlor.
If properly executed it is possible to donate the remainder of funds left to care for a charity or other organization concerned about the welfare of animals. This trust is a trust like any other. Seek help from a legal professional familiar with trusts and the pet trust statute to ensure your goals in establishing the trust are met.