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Including Fido and Fluffy when estate planning

Most people who have pets consider them members of the family. So, where does Fluffy or Fido stand when it comes to Florida residents who are in the midst of estate planning and thinking about their furry family members? Can people set up a trust for their pets to ensure they'll be looked after once they've died? The short answer is, yes, and every state but one has provisions for doing so.

Having a pet trust is perfectly legal. Such a trust sets aside funds to care for pets financially should the owner die or become incapable of looking after his or her pets. Grantors (the ones setting up the trusts) can decide how they would like the trust to operate; in other words, where they would like the money to go and to what pets. Just as in setting up a trust for a person, a trustee will be named.

Funds set aside in a trust for pets can be used for whatever the grantor deems appropriate -- for veterinarian fees, boarding and feeding, grooming -- whatever the pet may need during its life. Such a trust can even stipulate end-of-care directions. It can also stipulate what should happen to the pet's remains once it has died.

If there are still funds in the trust once a pet has died, those monies could be shared by other beneficiaries or given to charity -- whatever the grantor wishes.  A Florida estate planning attorney can help his or her pet-loving client to fashion a plan for a pet's care once its human master has died. He or she will ensure that any sort of trust or directive follows the grantor's last wishes. 

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