The choice of a Caretaker for your pet is always a tough decision in the estate planning process. The Caretaker is the person that will be in charge of your pet when, due to your death or disability, you cannot be responsible for the daily care of your pet. The Caretaker will be in charge of your pet’s Life Care Plan, including its diet, exercise, medical treatment and eventual death.
The Caretaker should be expected to follow your wishes for the care of your pet. In most cases, another member of your family or a friend will be appointed as the Caretaker, but you need to discuss the situation completely with the family member or friend in advance to ensure that this person is able and willing to accept this responsibility. In case that person cannot continue to serve in the role, a successor Caretaker should also be appointed in the trust, or there should at least be a method for appointing a successor. If you do not have a clear choice for the role of Caretaker or successor Caretaker, perhaps the pet’s Veterinarian may have some suggestions, such as a local Humane Society.
Under the system of checks and balances in the trust, the person who is appointed Monitor should have the ability to check on the pet at any reasonable time. The Caretaker should be someone who will not be resentful of this scrutiny.
If it is your intention that the Caretaker be compensated for taking care of your pet, the method of compensation should be clearly outlined in the trust.
Posted by: Brian E. Barreira, Esq. / 18 Samoset Street, Plymouth, MA 02360 / 508-747-8282