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Planning for Pets

North Carolina is one of a growing number of states that currently allow an individual to create a trust for the care of one or more designated domestic or pet animals.  These trusts can be created in a will, as part of a revocable or irrevocable trust, or as a stand-alone document just for the intended pets.  For animal lovers, a pet trust can give an owner the added comfort of knowing that his or her beloved pet will be cared for when they are gone.  As with all trusts, the choice of the trustee will be very important since that person will typically be the party responsible for the care of the animals.  Additionally, thought should be given to how much money is reasonably necessary to fund the pet trust, and who should receive any remaining funds when the pet(s) have died.   Over-funding the trust with an excessive amount could result in the excess funds being distributed elsewhere, or to unintended recipients.  If providing for your pet(s) is an important part of your estate plan, be sure to mention it to your estate planning attorney.