Colorado pet owners often say that their pets are more than just pets — they’re members of the family. Just as you create an estate plan to provide for your human family members in the event of your death or incapacity, you can also make provisions for your pets via a valid Colorado pet trust.
Many people are surprised to learn how common trusts for the benefit of pets are. “Pet trusts” may conjure up images of spoiled heiresses and even more spoiled miniature dogs, but in fact such trusts are simply written plans to make sure that any beloved pet is cared for with the same attention its owner provided.
Why Create a Colorado Pet Trust?
Why not simply ask a family member or friend to care for your pet if anything happens to you? Many people do this, and sometimes it’s enough. But many times, a well-meaning loved one will agree, on the spur of the moment, to care for a pet, only to discover later that they’re unable to fulfill that promise for a variety of perfectly valid reasons. As honorable as their intentions might have been, a mere promise doesn’t obligate anyone to care for your pet when you no longer can. What then? Too often, an animal is shuffled from temporary home to temporary home, or taken to a shelter.
A Colorado pet trust can avoid this prospect. A pet trust can provide for someone to actually have custody of the animal, as well as one or more back-up custodians in the event the original is unable to serve. In addition, the trust provides funds for the pet’s care, to be managed and disbursed by a trustee (who may also be the caretaker of the pet). As pet owners know, pet food, grooming, medical bills, obedience training, fencing, and so on can really add up. Providing these funds allows your chosen caretaker to care for your pet in the way that you always have, without imposing a financial burden on him or her.
Colorado law provides for trust assets to be transferred to another trustee while your pet is alive, if such a transfer is necessary to carry out your intent for your pet’s care; this offers another layer of reassurance that your pet will receive the treatment you intend. In the event that there are funds left in the trust when your pet passes away, the trust can dictate how they will be distributed. (If the trust fails to do this, Colorado law will dictate the distribution, referring to your will if possible.)
How Do I Create a Pet Trust?
A pet trust can easily be incorporated into your existing estate plan by a knowledgeable Colorado estate planning attorney. Your attorney will also assist you with issues related to funding the trust and having the trust registered pursuant to Colorado state law.
Contact the experienced estate planning and probate attorneys at Davis Schilken at 303-670-9855 to arrange a consultation at one of our two locations in The Denver Tech Center and Golden, Colorado. Our attorneys can give you more information about Colorado pet trusts and help you create a pet trust that will meet your needs and those of your pets.We look forward to working with you.