Pet Trusts: Estate Planning for Your Pets in Colorado

Kim Raemdonck

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Originally published at Legacy Planning & Probate by Kim Raemdonck.

Many of us consider our pets to be a part of our families, but what many may not realize is that we can plan for our beloved animals in our estate planning documents. Have you thought about who you would want to care for your pets in the event of your death? Should you leave their caretakers a certain amount of money to cover expenses? If you have multiple pets, would you want them all to go to the same loving home?  All of these issues (and more) can be addressed in your documents. 

Furthermore, much like one can create a trust to benefit his or her loved ones, Colorado law allows us to create what are colloquially known as “pet trusts.” A pet trust can be used to guarantee that your animal companions would be cared for – emotionally and financially – in the event of your death or disability. Setting up this type of trust can ensure that your pet goes to the caregiver of your choice, that this caregiver has the funds necessary to take care of your pet over a period of time, and that the caretaker maintains your pets’ current standard of living.

You may be asking yourself how do I go about creating a pet trust?

Similar to creating a trust for a family member, an experienced estate planning attorney can assist you in drafting these documents while catering a plan to fit what you want for your pet’s future. Some things to consider when creating a pet trust include (1) your pet’s current standard of care, (2) who you would like to act as caregiver, and (3) the amount you estimate the caregiver will need to handle pet-related expenses. It is also important to think about how you would like the remaining trust assets to be distributed once your pet has passed away. If you already have an existing estate plan, a pet trust can easily be incorporated into your existing documents. Alternatively, your current documents can be amended to include a simple provision regarding your animals. Reach out to Kim Raemdonck for assistance in planning for your furry friends!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

OF COUNSEL

Kim Raemdonck was born in Galveston, Texas, and raised in Fort Worth, Texas. She graduated magna cum laude from Texas A&M University with honors. Kim went on to attend the University of Denver Sturm College of Law where she obtained a J.D. and an L.L.M. in taxation. She is admitted to practice law in Colorado and Texas and before the United States District Court for the District of Colorado and the United States Tax Court.

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