Answer: There are a few options you have in providing for your pets in your estate plan. Your plan to provide for your pets in your estate plan may be informal, such as an agreement with a friend or member of your family, or a formal arrangement such as a trust which provides money and direction for caring for a pet for the remainder of the pet’s lifetime.
Maryland law allows you to provide for your pets in your estate plan through a “Pet Trust”. The trust can be created by Will (or during your lifetime). The Will designates a trustee to own the property to be used to care for your pet. The trust is created for an animal that is living during the lifetime of the person who creates the trust and must terminate at the death of the animal. Moreover, the trustee may only use the funds for the animal’s maintenance and care. At the death of the pet for whom the trust is established, generally the property will be distributed to human beneficiaries or charities.
There are other, less complicated options available to pet owners. Some people leave a bequest to an individual with the hope that they will take on the responsibility of caring for the pet.
Alternatively, some charitable organizations offer programs that agree to care for your pet in exchange for a charitable donation. For example, in exchange for a gift of say, $5,000 or more during your lifetime or in your will, the organization will agree to care for your pet until a home for the pet can be found.
As always, if you have any questions or would like to learn more, please at firstname.lastname@example.org or .
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