Porky and Buddy Pet Health – Establishing a ‘pet trust’

Porky and Buddy

Dear Porky and Buddy,
A friend of mine who was in her 70s just passed away unexpectedly and she had two dogs and three cats.

Her grown children knew we were friends and they asked me to take in all of her pets. Which I did, I only had one dog of my own, but now my house is pretty crowded as I look for new safe homes for them.

In the meantime, I am worried about what my happen to my pets in the same situation. I don’t have any family – not that hers was all that helpful.

They told me they would just take them to a shelter if I didn’t want them and we all know what happens to older pets in many shelters. Do you have any suggestions about how to prevent this problem?

Dear Jen,
First of all our heartfelt sympathies on the loss of your friend and our sincere thanks for being willing to take on this responsibility.

We hope you reach out to the Humane Society for help with finding new homes for these “orphans.”  It does take longer with older pets sometimes but it is certainly not hopeless, especially as they are safe where they are now.

For the future, the best formal way we know to provide for your pets after you are gone is to establish what is known as a “pet trust.”

The New York Estates, Powers and Trusts Law, Section 7-8.1, allows such trusts to be established and they will be enforced, if necessary, by the courts.

Basically the law provides that you can set up a trust with money in it to be used by your trustee for the benefit of your pet or pets while they are alive.

The amount of money can vary depending on your specific situation, but if you fund it with an excessive amount the court has discretion to reduce the amount to something more reasonable.

You can then specify what happens to any remaining funds in the trust when it ends. You choose the person to be the trustee of the funds or the court will do it if that person is for some reason unavailable.

Obviously, you would want to talk to the person or organization that you are thinking about appointing as trustee.

It is a big responsibility.

The ASPCA has a lot more information about pet trusts and other options www.aspca.org/pet-care/planning-for-your-pets-future.

You should really discuss this with your own estate lawyer before you go ahead with any plans as there are many decisions to be made carefully.

In the meantime, stay healthy and live forever by coming to Every Dog Has Its Day on October 19 at Fallbrook Recreation Center, the annual 5K Run/Walk and 1 Mile Family Walk and People and Pets Celebration.

Sign-in starts at 11 a.m. and it’s much smoother and less expensive if you pre-register.

Find out more and sign up at http://www.oswegohumane.org/

The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County.

Our office is located at 265 W. First St., Oswego, NY.

Phone: (315) 207-1070.

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.oswegohumane.org

Because People and Pets Are Good for Each Other.