Updated: Sep 21, 2020
By: K Liang
It will be our one pet peeve if we have not planned for our pets in our hereafter. It will be a major pet peeve even if we have planned, but didn’t get it right. And worst still, we can’t do anything about it other than getting our knickers in a twist while in the happy hunting ground of hereafter.
It can be as serious as that. I kid not, having learnt it recently from Rockwills, the wills and trust specialist.
We may be made to believe that we have done enough with a will, leaving a sum of money for our pets to be cared for when we have checked out (lingo of insurance peeps).
That can be a misguided notion. The estate planning experts cautioned that, that’s not necessary a full proof plan. It may never occur to us, but a will can be tied up in probate (Wikipedia: Probate is the judicial process whereby a will is "proved" in a court of law and accepted as a valid public document that is the true last testament of the deceased, or whereby the estate is settled)
Getting a probate may be a lengthy process and in such instances, leave the care for the pets unresolved for a period of time.
According to my Rockwills friend, the care and welfare of pets may not even be addressed or tend to be overlooked with the deceased family’s preoccupation with splitting up the estate. No individual heir of the estate may want to assume care of the pet, for example.
Pet trust can overcome this. Pet owners can have remote control of the care and welfare of their pets according to their wishes.
It can be with immediate effect upon death. The trustee of the pet trust can set into motion the provisions made by the pet owner as the settlor in matters such as handling the care of the pets to the chosen guardian and execution of instructions that can range from stipend for daily care of pets, scheduled visits to the veterinarian, to birthday parties etc
An additional plus point of a trust versus a will in the case of pets is that a will goes into effect only when the testator (one who writes the will) dies while a trust takes effect as soon as it is created. This means that if the pet owner (touch wood) becomes incapacitated due to illness or accident, the pet can still be taken care of by the appointed guardian with immediate effect with a trust in place.
SeriusAh? We can will but can’t trust that it will be the complete solution for our pets!