Atlanta Estate Planning, Wills & Probate | Siedentopf Law

Do I Need a Contract With a Pet Caretaker?

Do I Need a Contract With a Pet Caretaker?

I’m Sarah Sidentopf, I’m an estate planning attorney in Atlanta, Georgia, and we work with a lot of pet lovers.

And so this is something that we run into on a fairly regular basis is the question of, I would like a caretaker to move into my house to take care of my pets after I pass away. Do I need some kind of contract?

If I want to make sure that my pets are not going to a shelter, there’s not someone specific that they’re going to, I want somebody to come into the house and take care of them, have them continue to live where they have always lived. No, you don’t need a contract. Usually in this situation, what we are thinking about is a trust, and we specify in the trust, that we put your house in the trust.

And so then whoever is the trustee is in charge of this. This does not mean that the person you want to feed your cats has to be the trustee of your trust. It does mean that the trustee of your trust is gonna be in charge of paying for the cat food and you know, paying any expenses of this person. And if you’ve decided that they should get paid for their time, make those payments as well. So it can be a separate person and you know, often a list of people who might be available to take care of your pets in the home.

And that can be a different person than is the trustee in charge of your money and your assets. A trust is better than just a contract. The benefit of a contract would be sort of in addition to it. If you talk to somebody and you want to come to an agreement ahead of time about how much they were getting paid for this, yeah, you could totally have that and have that as part of your estate planning.

But if all you did was have a contract with someone for their services and didn’t have your house set up in a trust, didn’t have those other instructions in the trust, it’s probably not gonna work out. So it’s not sufficient just to have a contract with the person who would take care of your pets, it needs to be part and parcel of your other full estate planning to make sure that resources and your house stay available for your pets. If this is something you’re interested in doing, I would love to talk to you.

We love working with pet owners. Contact us today.

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