For many pet owners today, pets are considered members of the family. However, many pet owners fail to think about what will happen to their pets upon the owners' disability or death. Without proper planning, a family pet could be neglected, mistreated, or even taken to an animal shelter. Thus, it is important to plan ahead for the care of your pets.
Traditional Outright Gifts. Because the law treats pets as a person's property, one may not leave money, or other property, outright to a pet. Some pet owners have attempted to leave money with a caretaker with the hope the caretaker would care for the pet for the rest of its life. However, once the caretaker has received the money and the pet owner is out of the picture, there is nothing stopping the caretaker from getting rid of the pet and keeping the money. Even in the circumstances where the caretaker keeps the pet, there is no way of ensuring that the pet is being properly cared for.
Planning for Pets in Wills. Wills are inadequate to plan for the care of a pet because (1) a Will does not address disability, and (2) there is usually a large lapse of time between the pet owner's death and the Will's admission to probate.
Nevada Pet Trusts. Nevada statutes permit a pet owner to set up a trust for the care of a pet. In the trust document, a pet owner may designate a third party to be responsible for caring for the family pet. Specific requirements can be listed in the trust document detailing how the caretaker is to care for the pet. The terms of the pet trust are enforced by a trustee designated by the pet owner. Other common provisions of a pet trust might provide for:
Pet owners should not worry if they do not have sufficient funds to care for a pet upon disability or death. This simple problem can often be resolved through the use of life insurance. Once the pet passes away, the remaining trust money passes to the trust beneficiaries designated by the pet owner.