Fairfax Law Firm
Request a Consultation Today 703.988.3917
Pet Trusts Contact Our Firm Today

Pet Trusts

Planning for the Other Member of Your Family

Looking for an attorney to establish a pet trust in Fairfax? Pet owners in Virginia can rest assured that their faithful companions will be taken care of when they can no longer provide that care themselves.

Virginia has joined thirty-seven other states which have enacted laws which allow the establishment of pet trusts. The trust can provide for the care of your pet should you become disabled or die.

There are several players in a pet trust. The first is the pet's caretaker. The second is a trustee who ensures that the money in the trust is spent on the pet. The third is a "trust protector" who enforces the terms of the trust.

There are two ways in which a pet trust can be created: through a living trust which you establish while you are alive or through a testamentary trust which is established after you die under your Last Will and Testament.

  • The advantage to using a living trust is that it can be funded upon signing, ensuring that, in the event of the pet owner's death or disability, there are funds on hand to provide for their pet's care.
  • A testamentary trust will only become effective once the will has been probated with the local court after the pet owner's death, thus your pet may not be provided for in the event of your disability. If you are setting up a testamentary pet trust, you should be sure to authorize your agent in your power of attorney to be able to spend money on your pet.

Contact a Fairfax Estate Planning Attorney

When considering the type and size of assets to transfer to the trust, think about the type of animal, the animal's life expectancy, the standard of living you wish to provide for the animal, the need for potentially expensive medical treatment, and whether the trustee is to be paid for his or her services.

In the event there is money left over after your pet's passing, you should consider naming a "remainder beneficiary", such as a charitable organization that cares for animals, to receive any assets that are left over.

To learn more about pet trusts, please contact Hale Ball Carlson Baumgartner Murphy, PLC today!