One of the key decisions that you need to make when you set up a trust for your pet is who should serve as the caretaker and the alternate caretaker, if your original choice is unable, for whatever reason, to perform their duties.
The most obvious choices for a caretaker are a friend that is familiar with your pet or another family member. Secondary options may include a local breeder, an animal sanctuary , a pet retirement center or even your pet’s veterinarian. You should be aware that many animal sanctuaries or retirement centers may be cost prohibitive or require a specific donation amount before they will accept your pet.
Your pet trust will direct the Trustee to distribute monies to the caretaker on a regularly scheduled basis to provide for the payment of all of the necessary expenses for your pet. Most pet trusts also provide for a payment to the caretaker for their time and services. You can specify the normal costs required to maintain the standard of living for your pet that include housing, food, veterinary and grooming bills, insurance and cremation or burial expenses.
One of the duties of the Trustee should be the power to demand a regular inspection of your pets to ensure that they are being properly maintained by the caretaker. The Trustee should be allowed to visit the animals in their home environment with the caretaker. The inspections should also be permitted to be made randomly and without prior notice to the caretaker.
Whoever is your choice as the caretaker, it is extremely important that you discuss your expectations of their duties and functions, to ensure that that they are willing to accept this responsibility. You need to be clearly comfortable with your choice, as it may determine the future well being of your family pet.