Michigan estate planning: Pet trust, yes, it's a thing

Numerous Michigan residents have pets that are more than just animals -- they are family members. Who will take care of these precious creatures if one was to become incapacitated or make his or her final exit from this world? Thankfully, this is something for which one can prepare during the estate planning process.

By setting up a pet trust, it is possible to make all the necessary arrangements so that one's pet is not left wanting a new home and someone to care for him or her. What type of pet trusts are there? What should one consider when planning this type of trust?

There are two types of pet trusts available: testamentary and inter vivos. A testamentary trust will cover what happens to the pet in the event of one's death. An inter vivos trust, on the other hand, will provide for the pet in the event one is unable to continue doing so.

There are many things to consider when planning out a pet trust. Greedy relatives first come to mind. The rule of perpetuity could allow relatives to fight how much money one has set aside to care for one's pet in order to collect money for themselves. One's legal counsel can provide ideas on ways to get around this.

Another thing to consider, also involving the rule or perpetuity, is the lifespan of the trust. Most trusts become invalid 21 years after the primary's death. Some animals do live longer than that, so wording the trust so that it is valid until the one's pet dies is a must.

A pet trust is not necessarily a difficult thing to create. However, it does require a lot of thought and planning in order to make sure it truly serves the needs of one's pet. Michigan residents can turn to an estate planning attorney in order to make sure that these precious members of their families receive all that they need in the future.

Source: investopedia.com, "Pet Trusts: Care For Your Pet After You're Dead", Lisa Smith, Accessed on July 13, 2017