For many pet owners, their furry, feathered, or scaled friends are more than just animals โ€“ they’re part of the family. As such, their care and welfare are paramount, especially when we can no longer be there for them. One way to ensure your pets continue to live their best life even after you’re gone is by establishing a pet trust. In this article, we’ll walk you through how to set up a pet trust in Georgia, ensuring your pet’s future is secure.


What is a Pet Trust?

A pet trust is a legally enforceable arrangement providing for the care and maintenance of one or more pets in the event of the owner’s disability or death. In Georgia, pet trusts are recognized and are bound by specific rules and regulations under Georgia law (O.C.G.A. ยง 53-12-28).


How Does a Pet Trust Work in Georgia?

When you set up a pet trust in Georgia, you, the pet owner, also known as the settlor or grantor, place assets (cash, property, etc.) into a trust. These assets are managed by a trustee, who you appoint. The trustee’s duty is to use the trust’s assets to care for your pet according to your instructions.


Steps to Set Up a Pet Trust in Georgia


  1. Choose the Type of Trust

In Georgia, pet owners can opt for a traditional pet trust, which provides the most control over your pet’s care. With this trust, you can dictate the type of care your pet will receive, how the funds are used, and what happens to any remaining funds after your pet’s death.


  1. Identify Your Pet

To prevent fraud, it’s advisable to identify your pet as clearly as possible in your trust document. Consider using microchipping or other forms of identification to ensure it’s your pet who benefits from the trust.


  1. Appoint a Trustee

The trustee will be responsible for managing the trust’s assets and ensuring that your pet’s caregiver uses the funds appropriately. Choose someone you trust, and who is willing and capable of taking on this role.


  1. Appoint a Caregiver

The caregiver will be the person actually taking care of your pet day-to-day. This could be the same person as the trustee, but appointing a separate person can provide an additional layer of protection for your pet by segregating the duties.


  1. Determine the Amount of Assets to Fund the Trust

The amount you need to set aside will depend on your pet’s life expectancy, the standard of living you wish to provide, the type of animal, and potential future medical needs. Remember, the funds not only have to cover daily care but also potential emergencies and end-of-life care.


  1. Detail Your Pet’s Care Instructions

These instructions can include diet, exercise, veterinary care, and even how you’d like your pet to be disposed of upon their death. The more specific you are, the better equipped your trustee and caregiver will be to follow your wishes.


  1. Determine the Remainder Beneficiary

This is who receives any remaining funds after your pet’s death. It could be a person, or you could choose to donate the remainder to a charitable organization, such as a local animal shelter.


  1. Draft and Execute the Pet Trust

It’s advisable to work with an experienced estate planning attorney to draft the pet trust document. Once the document is ready, you’ll need to sign it in front of a notary to make it legally binding.


Call An Expert Estate Planning Attorney At Brian M. Douglas & Associates

Setting up a pet trust in Georgia may seem like a daunting task, but it’s an act of love that ensures your beloved pet will be well-cared for even when you can no longer provide that care. Always consult with an expert attorney like our team at Brian M Douglas & Associates. Given the complexity of the task and the importance of getting it right, it’s always a good idea to seek legal advice. With proper planning, you can rest easy knowing that your pet’s future is secure, come what may.