A trust may be created to the extent its purposes are lawful, not contrary to public policy, and possible to achieve. Over the next several weeks, we will discuss unique reasons to create trusts, beginning with trusts implemented to care for pets.

Pet trusts can be created to provide for the care and maintenance of pets in the event of the owner’s death or disability. In Nebraska, a trust can be created to care for any animal alive during the lifetime of the settlor, the person who creates the trust. The trust terminates upon the death of the animal or, if the trust was created to provide for the care of more than one animal alive during the settlor’s lifetime, upon the death of the last surviving animal.

The pet trust should include detailed instructions in order to provide the owner with peace of mind that the animals will be cared for according to the owner’s wishes. In addition, specific directions allow for a smooth transition between the pet and new guardian.

The settlor will have the opportunity to nominate a caretaker and a trustee in the trust. The trustee will be responsible for managing the trust assets and providing regular payments to the caretaker for the purpose of caring for the animals. Additional provisions can be included to accomplish the settlor’s specific wishes. For example, a provision to keep certain animals together may be included in the document.

Pet trusts are a helpful tool available to pet owners and careful consideration should be given to the creation of the trust in order to ensure the settlor’s wishes are properly carried out.