Updated Friday, July 25, 2014 as of 7:22 AM ET
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Estate Planning for Pets: 6 Rules
Monday, April 21, 2014
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There may be remaining funds in the trust when the last covered pet dies. At that point the pet trust will terminate and a remainder beneficiary will receive the leftover funds. But be careful about naming an individual as a remainder beneficiary -- especially one who is not an animal lover.

The reason: Many states allow interested parties to reduce the amount of funds held for the pet's care if a court deems the trust to be overfunded. Those interested parties might include the remainder beneficiary. So to stave off challenges, consider naming a charitable organization (preferably an animal welfare, rights or rescue organization) that you think will be more likely to respect the terms of the trust, and won't seek to decrease its funding or accelerate the remainder benefits.

It is also possible to add an in terrorem clause, which says that if a beneficiary of the trust contests any provision, that beneficiary will not be able to receive any property from the trust.

Using these tips as a guideline for developing a client's pet trust will ensure that the pet is protected and well cared for after they pass.

Estate planning attorney Tracy Craig is partner at Mirick O'Connell and chairwoman of the firmís trusts and estates group.

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