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During probate, the validity of your last will and testament must be proven in a court of law, and the selected executor of your will helps to administer this process, ideally with your family’s best interests in mind. You may have included your pet in your will, but you also know that you and your pet have a special relationship.

What if the people handling your will do not see your pet in the same way that you did? What if their idea of a good standard of care and affection does not line up with yours?

A pet trust can provide better care for your pet

If you do not want to leave everything up to the interpretation of your pet’s new guardian, one available option is a pet trust. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, a pet trust is a legally binding arrangement that assures your wishes regarding your pet will be carried out after you are gone.

With a pet trust, you set aside funds that may only be used in caring for the animal you left behind. You can give detailed instructions as to your pet’s standard of care, require regular inspections by your trustee and provide information to properly identify your pet to avoid fraud.

How a pet trust works

You can set up a pet trust before you die, and it can go into effect if you become comatose or permanently impaired. You designate a trustee who will hold the property or cash for the trust, and you can provide a list of people who would be willing to provide the care you want for your pet.