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How can Florida pet owners plan for a pet's care?

Many people love their pets like they are their children. For some of those people, the desire to take care of their pets if something happens to them is very real. Pet trusts are one option that Florida residents have to ensure their pets are cared for when they die.

What is a pet trust?

A pet trust is a legal arrangement that ensures pets have proper care when their owner dies. The pet owner can stipulate who will care for the pet. If no one is named or if the person who was named is unable to care for the pets, the court can appoint a person to care for the pets.

What happens if the caretaker dies or can't care for the pets?

If the person who is named to care for the pets begins to care for the pets and then dies or is unable to care for them for another reason, the court can remove that person from the care of the animals. In that case, the court would then appoint a caretaker.

Is there an end to a pet trust?

A pet trust terminates when the last pet dies. If more than one pet is covered under the pet trust, the pet trust doesn't end until the last pet dies. When the pets die, anything left in the trust becomes part of the pet owner's estate. Of course, there are exceptions to this. With that in mind, pet owners should ensure they fully understand how pet trusts work and how their pet trust is set up prior to making it part of an estate plan.

Source: Online Sunshine, "736.0408 Trust for care of an animal." Oct. 26, 2014

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