No matter how much we love our pets, there’s always the chance they will run into a legal situation. Attorney David Aylor took time to answer questions from our readers in this edition of Ask a Lawyer.
QUESTION: I am a pet sitter and some of my clients have offered a stipend to cover care for their pets after they pass until another owner can be found. Is this enough or do they need to do more to transfer ownership to me? – Jamie
DAVID AYLOR: In many states, owners who seek to maintain care for their pets once they are deceased usually provide a pet trust in their will or final plans. Pet Trusts provide written instructions to care for a decedent’s animal for the duration of its life after the owner has passed away. It seems like the stipend you are being offered is similar to payment for the position of someone who is a pet guardian.
According to the American Bar Association, many factors should be considered when deciding how much to leave for a pet’s care, not the least of which is the fact that pets are more expensive as they age. Some things to consider are: How many pets are included? What type of pets are they? How long are they expected to live? Does the pet guardian need funds to keep the pets in the manner to which they are accustomed? Is the pet guardian going to be compensated from the remaining funds after the pets’ pass, or should the pet guardian receive monthly or yearly compensation?