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A pet trust is a legal arrangement to provide care for a pet after its owner dies. A pet trust falls under trust law and is one option for pet owners who want to provide for their pets after they pass away. Alternatives include honorary bequests made through a will and contractual arrangements with the caregiver.
Pet trusts stipulate that in the event of a grantor’s disability or death a trustee will hold property (cash, for example) “in trust” for the benefit of the grantor’s pets. The “grantor” (also called a settlor or trustor in some states) is the person who creates the trust, which may take effect during a person’s lifetime or at death. Payments to a designated caregiver(s) will is made on a regular basis.
As of 2015, all U.S. states except Minnesota have passed laws that allow some form of pet trust. Some states allow a pet trust to continue for the life of the pet, without regard to a maximum duration of 21 years. This is particularly advantageous for companion animals who have longer life expectancies than cats and dogs, such as horses and parrots.
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