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  • Writer's pictureRRPG 2022

Three Reasons Why I Created A Pet Trust For My Dog

Updated: Oct 4, 2022

By William K. Root


Our dog, Rusty, requires a lot of love and attention, and my wife and I willingly give it to him!

As with any dog – and especially new puppies – caring for Rusty is not an easy task. We have shopped for him to purchase the right bed, the right collar and leash, and the right food. We have taken him to the vet to get the plan of care for him “medically."

I know we're not alone. Many of us treat our pets like they are human. After all, they are considered part of the family.

We spend a lot of time and money making plans for our pet's day-to-day care, but have we considered what would happen to our pet if we were no longer here to care for it?

Most all of the states in the U.S. permit a pet lover to create a pet trust for his or her pet. Estate Planning is all about creating a strategy for managing and controlling property and affairs while you are alive and planning for when you are no longer here.

For me, that includes making plans for Rusty’s care and his care giver if I become disabled or die. Here are the top three reasons why I have created a pet trust for Rusty:

Reason Number 1

I want to provide a monetary fund to enable Rusty’s care giver with the financial resources to take care of him.

Reason Number 2

I want to officially name the Care Giver and Trustee who will take custody of Rusty and spend for his care according to my instructions.

Reason Number 3

I want to make sure that my grandsons get to play with Rusty every day.

At Resch, Root, Philipps & Graham, we use what we call a "Roadmap for Care and Support" to document the items that are related to the care of our loved ones. To start planning for your pet, you can begin by documenting all of the items related to its day-to-day care. We have a list of items you can begin collecting now.

Download a FREE fillable PDF to begin documenting all of the important details about your pet(s).

MM-DD-YYYY Pet Name, Roadmap (fillable PDF)
Download PDF • 49KB



See below for an excerpt from Rusty's Trust:

Section 1.01 Pet Trust For Rusty

If my wife has predeceased me, then as soon as practical after my death, my Trustee shall allocate $1,000.00 to be held in a separate trust for the benefit of Rusty, my Cavachon (Pet Beneficiary). This trust is created pursuant to Ohio Revised Code Chapter 5804.08 to be administered as provided in this Section. If my wife survives me, this distribution will lapse, and this property will instead be distributed under the other provisions of this trust.

If my wife has predeceased me, I direct my Trustee to deliver Rusty to Lisa Smith as soon as practical after my death.

If Rusty is not living at the time of my death, then the distributions provided for under this Section will lapse, and this property instead will be distributed under the remaining provisions of this trust. Property passing under this Section passes free of any administrative expenses or death taxes.

My Trustee shall administer the amount set aside for Rusty as follows:

(a) Distributions of Income and Principal

My Trustee shall distribute for the benefit of Rusty as much of the income and principal of the trust as my Trustee determines necessary or advisable for Rusty’s care. Specifically:

My Trustee may distribute all or any portion of the income and principal of the trust to the Lisa Smith, or directly apply such trust property, for the care of the Rusty, in such amounts and at such times as my Trustee, in my Trustee’s discretion, may determine. Such care shall take into account Rusty’s living standard at the time of my death, and includes but is not limited to costs for food, veterinary care, medication, grooming, routine expenses, pet sitting, and the disposition of Rusty’s remains.

My Trustee shall add any undistributed net income to principal.

(b) Guidelines for Discretionary Distributions

In making discretionary distributions for the benefit of Rusty, I desire to provide for Rusty’s well-being and happiness. I request that my Trustee be liberal in making any distributions for Rusty’s benefit; even if the result is that nothing will pass to any remainder beneficiary. I acknowledge that the principal of the trust may be exhausted in making these distributions.

(c) Distribution upon the Death of Rusty

If Rusty dies after the establishment of this trust but before the complete distribution of this trust, any funds remaining in the trust (both principal and income) after payment of any last expenses of Rusty, but in no case later than the beginning of the year following the death of Rusty, will revert back to the estate, become part of the residuary of the estate, and be distributed accordingly.

(d) Trustee

I nominate Lisa Smith residing in Westerville, Ohio to serve as the Trustee of this trust for Rusty.

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