Caring for our animals through the use of a Pet Trust

Forbes magazine reported that in 2015 Americans spent more than $60 billion on their pets. According to the American Pet Products Association this figure includes $23.05 billion spent on food for our pets.  It should be no surprise that the number of pets owned in the US is staggering and consists of the following:

Total Number of Pets Owned in the U.S. (millions)

Bird                                                             14.3
Cat                                                              85.8
Dog                                                             77.8
Horse                                                           7.5
Freshwater Fish                                       95.5
Saltwater Fish                                            9.5
Reptile                                                         9.3
Small Animal                                           12.4

Despite the attachment to our pets, one of the often overlooked issues is providing for their care in the event of our untimely demise or disability.  A pet owner could include a provision in their Last Will and Testament for the disposition of money to a caregiver but there is no assurance they will not simply keep the money and donate the pet.  Moreover, a Will only becomes effective upon death and does not provide for their care in the event of your disability. 

A pet trust is a legal arrangement to provide care for a pet when you are no longer able to do so. In Nevada a  trust created for the care of one or more animals that are alive at the time of the settlor’s death is valid. Such a trust terminates upon the death of all animals covered by the terms of the trust. NRS 163.0075

Advantages of a Pet Trust

  • Creates a legally binding obligation regarding the care of your pets.
  • Permits you to describe specifically how you would like your pets to be cared for.
  • The Trust can even become effective upon your disability if you are unable to continue to care for your pet (this cannot be done in a Will).
  • The Trust can provide for a third party to oversee the use of the funds to ensure your pet is being properly cared for.
  • The Trustee of the Trust can have the authority to change the caregiver of your pets in the event it is determined they are not caring for the animals as you indicated.

Drizin Law is providing this information for educational purposes only. It should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion as to any specific facts or circumstances. This information is based on general principles of Nevada law at the time it was created and you should be aware laws frequently change. Moreover, the laws affecting you may differ depending on the circumstances. You should consult with a qualified attorney in your own state or jurisdiction concerning your particular situation. Review of this information does not create an attorney-client relationship.