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Can you set up a trust for your pet?

While you have taken provisions to plan for the future by establishing a living will or trust, you may have questions concerning your furry friends if your pets happen to survive you. It is entirely natural to wish to see to your beloved pet's care, and to ensure legal provisions exist to mandate that a portion of your estate be set aside to care for your animal companion as you see fit. But are you able to establish a trust under Michigan law to ensure adequate funding for your pet's well-being?

According to Michigan Legislature, you may in fact establish a trust for the care of your animal companion, and assign someone to execute that trust. The trust will last for the lifetime of the pet or pets covered, until the last has passed away. You have the right to determine what portion of your estate, after estate taxes, is designated for the care and comfort of your animal companion. You also have the right to determine who, on your passing, should be assigned the task of caring for your pet.

As the transferor, or the person transferring care and ownership of the pet to another, you also have the right to be explicit in the terms of care expected for your beloved animal companion. Without explicit instructions, the courts may be required to evaluate evidence and other matters presented by the executor or trustee of your trust to determine, within reason, your intentions so that they may be honored to the fullest extent capable by the trust.

This article was written as an informational reference that should not be misconstrued as legal advice.

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