What is a Pet Trust?
Simply put, a pet trust is a legally enforceable document which stipulates the arrangements which are made for the care and maintenance of your dog upon your death. A trust can be very specific. For example, if your dog only likes a particular brand of food or has dietary restrictions, this can be specified in your pet trust. If you want your dog to visit the veterinarian four times a year, get daily walks around the block, or always have those favorite toys available, this can also be included.
Since you know the particular habits of your dog better than anyone else, you will be able to describe the exact type of care you want your dog to have.
When you set up your pet trust, you become the Grantor (also called Settlor or Trustor in some states). The Trustee (who is the person or entity you assign to be responsible for managing your pet trust) will hold the funds you've assigned to your pet trust, and will be responsible for overseeing those funds according to the provisions in the trust. Payments from the trust to your caregiver(s) will be made by the Trustee on a regular basis. The trust, depending upon the state in which it is established, will continue for the life of the pet or 21 years, whichever occurs first.
How Do I Set Up My Pet Trust—and How Long Will it Take?
Your pet trust should be very specific to you and your dog's particular needs, so you'll want to take your time completing it—to be sure it's exactly as you'd like it. Depending on the specificity of your wishes for your dog's care, the pet trust could take a few hours to complete, or a few days. It's not something you'll want to rush, so be sure to think through the process carefully. We'll provide you with an excellent resource to help you!
Your pet trust will be provided by LawAssure—one of the world's largest providers of online legal services—providing over one million legal document services every year to consumers and businesses. Smart, online technology makes the process easy ... just like being interviewed by an attorney. The innovative system will ask you a series of questions about your dog and your wishes. As you answer each question, your pet trust will be personalized specifically for your needs using pre-programmed logic. You can even share your pet trust with other people (such as a family member or trusted advisor) via a secure workflow. It's that simple!
Why a Pet Trust?
The provisions stated in a pet trust are enforceable by law – and that means when you create a pet trust for your dog, the money you put into the trust has to be used exactly as you stipulate when you create your trust. It's very important to know that the money you set aside for your dog is used precisely the way you want it used.
Can I Put More than One Dog in my Pet Trust?
Yes. You'll want to be sure you're very specific with your instructions and wishes for each of your dogs. Also, you'll want to carefully think about the total amount of money you'll want for all your dogs combined, as this will help assure that your caregiver will have the funds needed to properly love and care for each of your dogs—to the highest standards of your expectations.
When will my Pet Trust receive its funds?
New York Life will provide the funds to your pet trust (by payment of the life insurance proceeds upon your death) normally within 5 business days after the Policy's benefit claim form has been received and approved. It is highly recommended that you have a designated person (attorney, family member, etc.) who is aware of your Loyal Legacy™ Plan, and is prepared to request the funds upon your death.
Why should I consider life insurance a smart resource to fund my Pet Trust?
For decades, life insurance has been used by millions of people as a smart financial tool for protecting the ones we love—and the Loyal Legacy™ Plan is designed to do the same for your dog. Since it can be difficult—even impossible—for many people to set aside $25,000 or more to fund their Pet Trust, life insurance provides a way to help ensure the funds will be there upon the owner's death, as long as premiums are paid—at a cost that comfortably fits most people's budgets.
What if I've already made plans with family or friends for my dog?
The Loyal Legacy™ Plan provides you with an excellent way to eliminate the uncertainty surrounding how your dog will be cared for after your death. It's unfortunate—but true—that even family and friends with the best intentions to care for our dogs can end up putting them in especially unfortunate situations, due to common planning mistakes or unforeseen circumstances.
Can't I simply add my dog to my existing will or trust?
If you already have a will or trust set up for your family, you most likely also have specific allocations for the cash funds which will be received by your will or trust. Having a pet trust dedicated exclusively to your dog allows you to keep the current allocations in your will or trust without having to reduce them in order to allocate some of those funds for your dog's pet trust. The Loyal Legacy™ Plan makes it possible for you to give your dog its own trust. For example, a $25,000 Loyal Legacy™ Plan for a 48-year-old female who doesn't smoke is just $3.75 a month.
I already have life insurance, so can't I simply designate some of that for my dog?
Most people make arrangements to have their life insurance proceeds benefit their family. If you already have life insurance with a designated beneficiary, you may not want to change that arrangement by diverting the funds into your pet trust—particularly when the Loyal Legacy™ Plan helps make it possible for you to give your dog its own trust. For example, a $25,000 Loyal Legacy™ Plan for a 38-year-old female who doesn't smoke is just $2.75 a month.
Isn't it expensive to fund a pet trust?
While it could take a lot of money—and a long time—to responsibly fund a pet trust, the Loyal Legacy™ Plan is designed to help provide you with access to fully fund your pet trust (via our specially-arranged life insurance policy), upon your death. While some people may have the means to set aside larger sums of money for their pet trust, the arrangement through the Loyal Legacy™ Plan doesn't require you to set any additional money aside to fund your pet trust. Funding a pet trust of $50,000 can cost as little as $7.50 a month1.
1Female, non-smoker, age 45-49
While I love my dog, I'm not sure a pet trust makes sense?
Since every dog deserves to be loved and treated well—both now and later—the Loyal Legacy™ Plan can be for every dog. With specially arranged pricing for AKC constituents, funding a pet trust of $10,000 can cost as little as 50¢ a month2—and that includes your personalized pet trust for no additional cost.
2Female, non-smoker, age 18-24
Who would I leave my dog to?
While this resource will help you select an excellent caregiver for your dog, it's important to provide a pet trust and ample funding for your caregiver to properly care for and love your dog. Once your request for life insurance is approved, getting your pet trust set up is smart and simple. Get started now.
Is setting up (and funding) my pet trust complicated?
With the Loyal Legacy™ Plan, everything is ready-to-go and simple! No need to hire a lawyer or venture into the confusing world of internet pet trusts. The entire process has already been arranged for you—from providing access to secure the funds for your pet trust to providing guidance from LawAssure to set up your personalized pet trust. We'll give you complete online access to a simple form which will guide you step-by-step in setting up your trust. What's more, we even provide you with a trusted, dedicated team ready to help you with any questions you have.
What happens to the money left in my Pet Trust when my dog passes away?
While there are no restrictions on what can be done with the money left in your pet trust upon the death of your dog, suggestions for what to do with those funds might include donating the funds to your favorite charity, your favorite pet-related organization, or some other cause whose mission you believe in and would be proud to support.
Can the funds in my Pet Trust earn interest?
Since all the funds in your pet trust may not be used for your dog right away, those unused funds can be invested into interest bearing accounts to help add to the value of the funds in your pet trust.
Can I apply for the Life Insurance and Not use the Pet Trust
Absolutely. There are many excellent reasons why people buy life insurance and you're welcome to use this insurance coverage for whatever purposes work best for you.
What is AKC's role in the Loyal Legacy™ Plan?
AKC does not offer, sell or market insurance. The American Kennel Club (AKC) is not an insurance agent, company, or organization of any kind, nor does it provide financial and/or legal advice. Please consult your legal, tax and/or financial professional if you have any questions. The American Kennel Club name and trademark are used with permission. The Loyal Legacy™ Plan is offered by New York Life Insurance Company to constituents of the American Kennel Club, Inc.