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Michigan Pet Trusts Lawyer

What will happen to your beloved pets when you pass? It is becoming more and more common that special arrangements be made for our four-legged friends before we die. Known as a pet care trust or animal trust, this legal document provides for continued care and maintenance of domesticated pets in the event of an owner’s disability or death. In 2007, one New York billionaire left her elderly Maltese, “Trouble,” an estate gift of $12 million (later reduced by the courts to a mere $2 million).

Leaving millions of dollars to your pet may be excessive, but most pet trusts are legally enforceable arrangements, meaning pet owners can take comfort knowing their specific arrangements will be carried out. For instance, does your dog have a favorite brand of food it likes, or certain time of day it looks forward to a trip to the dog park?  Do you want your pets to have regular veterinarian visits and flea medications? All of these can be specified in your trust agreement. The agreement allows you to describe the kind of care you want given to your pet and specify the person(s) who you would like providing that care.

All 50 states have a specific pet care trust statute written into the trust code. However, the Michigan trust code only allows for a pet trust to exist for 21 years, while other states allow for the trust to exist as long as your pet is still alive. While you can be assured that your dogs and cats will be taken care of for their entire life, alternative arrangements may need to be made for the care of horses and parrots, which can live well past the legally enforceable trust period in Michigan.

Pet care trusts can offer concerned owners peace of mind that their companions will receive continued care. If you would like to provide for your pets as part of your overall estate plan, or as a stand-alone document, please contact pet trust lawyer Adam Zuwerink at or 231-457-4235.