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Taking Care of Pets Through Legal Documents | Keystone Elder Law – Mechanicsburg, PA

As you are enjoying the holidays with your family and beginning to think of the future, do not forget about your furry family members and how they will be taken care of when you pass away. When creating a last will and testament, a lot of people do not realize or forget that they need to provide for their pets. A great way to accomplish this is to create a pet trust. This trust can be a testamentary trust, a trust that it is in your last will and testament and does not come into effect until after you have passed away, or you can put pet provisions in a living trust, a trust that is created and effective during your life.

Pennsylvania allows such provisions for the care of an animal with a few requirements under 20 Pa.C.S.A. § 7738. First, the animal must be alive at the time the trust is created. Second, the trust must terminate when the animal, for which the trust is providing, passes away or if the trust is providing for multiple animals, it must terminate when the last surviving animal passes away. Third, a person may be appointed in the trust to take care of the animal and enforce the trust or a court may appoint a Trustee as well. Fourth, assets in this trust must be used for the animal. Fifth, after the animal dies the remaining trust assets will go to your children unless you specify other beneficiaries in the trust.

Do not try to create one of these trusts on your own. Meet with an attorney who can draft documents that meet your goals and protect your pet. Happy holidays!

Jessica Fisher