As many people consider pets as part of the family, pet trusts are a tool many families count on time protect their pets if they pass away. Historically, pets were considered property in the eyes of the court, but nowadays, courts recognize that pets are living beings and should not be treated the same as a chair or piece of art.
Because of this shift in mindset, pet parents in Illinois are able to create pet trusts to make sure all of their pets’ needs are met in the future. The Pet Trust Act (760 ILCS 5/15.2) provides additional information on the requirements for a pet trust in Illinois.
What is a pet trust?
Under Illinois state law, a pet trust is similar to a trust that would be established to care for a minor child or other dependents. Pet owners will essentially set aside funds to put toward the future care of their animals and will assign a trustee to manage the trust and ensure that the money in the trust is used toward the care of the pet after the creator of the trust passes on. A pet trust can specify:
- A caregiver who will use the money in the trust to care for the pet.
- What happens to leftover trust funding, if any.
- A backup caregiver in case the first one cannot or will not perform their duties.
One of the core legal principles of any trust is to honor the wishes of the grantor and make sure that the money is used in the way specified by the pet owner.
The safety and wellbeing of a pet is the primary concern for every animal lover. By taking the time to correctly establish and properly fund a pet trust, you will ensure that your pet is taken care of even after you are gone. An estate planning attorney can help you establish a pet trust and any other trust you need for your estate plan.