A testamentary trust is one that is created in a will.
Since a will is an ambulatory instrument, in that it never is effective until the testator (the one who writes the will) actually dies, this trust will not spring to use until the pet owner is no longer around.
Additionally, a will must go through the probate process and there may well be some time delays.
This delay may cause issues for the ability of your pet caretaker to secure the means and authority to take care of your pet.
One advantage of this type of trust is that is may be less expensive than the living trust. The trust clauses can be incorporated into the will of the pet owner and thus, become an integral part of the overall estate planning process
Can you explain to me in general terms, what exactly is a Trust agreement?
Billy Charleston, South Carolina
Billy, a Trust is a written formal agreement where a trustor (the one writing the trust) places the ownership rights to a specific piece of property or asset under the control of another person, called a Trustee.
The Trustee is to conserve and protect the property on the behalf of someone else, called the beneficiary, who has been designated by the Trustor.
A typical trust will contain provisions for:
(1) The purpose for which the trust was established;
(2) details of the assets placed in the trust;
(3) the powers and limitations of the trustees, including all duties and responsibilities;
(4) form of trustees' compensation; and
(5) conditions and terms that will terminate the trust.
When you are doing estate planning for animal owners, the pet owner is the trustor and the pet is the specific asset to be protected by the trustee. You also obviously need to appoint a caregiver to physically take care of the pet. Any remaining monies in the trust after the death of the pet, goes to the beneficiary.
The Uniform Trust Code, adopted by a majority of the states since its initial draft inception in 2000, has been the underlying strength of the new growth phase of Pet Trusts.
We have previously minimally defined the role of the Trustee.
Generally speaking, the duties and responsibilities of a Trustee for a Pet Trust are no more or less than any other Trustee.
The Trust Agreement itself will set out the specific role of the Trustee and set the parameters of the powers of the Trustee.
The Uniform Trust Code also defines in detail, the duties and powers of the Trustee that have been accumulated as established by the courts and the legislatures throughout the years.
Beginning with Section 801, DUTY TO ADMINISTER TRUST, which states…
Upon acceptance of a trusteeship, the trustee shall administer the trust in good faith, in accordance with its terms and purposes and the interests of the beneficiaries, and in accordance with this [Code].
The Code sets out in great detail the expectations of the Trustee, including definitions and explanations of the needed loyalty and impartiality of the Trustee as well as the accumulation, control and accounting of the Trust property.
Your choice of a Trustee for your Pet Trust, whether an organization or an individual should not be taken lightly. Although their responsibilities are set high and can be closely monitored by your Pet Caretaker, you will be out of the picture and the decisions will be made by someone else
You will no longer have control of the property that you have set aside for the care and protection of your pet.
Chose your Pet Trustee wisely.
A Trustee is a person or an organization (i.e. a bank) that holds or manages and invests assets (property or money) that are owned by a Trust Agreement for the benefit of another. The Trustee is legally obliged to protect the assets and distribute them according to the terms of the Trust. The duties and responsibilities of the Trustee are set out in the Trust Agreement and many states have statutes that also govern the activities of the Trustee. The Trustee may or may not be entitled to a payment for their services, depending upon the Trust language.