Estate Plan for Pets
Planning for Your Pet
Pets give you love and companionship throughout their lives, but what happens if they outlive you? They are often the forgotten family member, hoping for the generosity of a stranger to save them from the animal shelter. Rather than leaving it to chance, include your pets in your Estate Plan. Whether it is as simple as a conversation with a responsible person or as careful as a Pet Trust to ensure your constant companion is cared for after you are gone, make sure there is a plan for them too.
Why Your Pet Must Be Part of Your Estate Plan
- Your pet may outlive you
- Planning can provide for your pet during incapacity and emergencies
- Ability to preselect a caregiver
- Future caretakers will be informed of your pet’s likes, dislikes, routines, and care instructions
- Provide a reliable source of funds for the caretaker to satisfy your pet’s needs. Sometimes the perfect caregiver will not have the financial means to provide care for the long term.
Some people might feel that a Pet Trust might fall into an “extreme” planning category, but there are sound reasons for this type of Estate Planning. You may have an animal that has a long life span, i.e., tortoises, macaws, etc., or there could be a considerable expense involved with their care, such as horses or animals with significant health issues. They require caregivers with knowledge of their specific nutritional requirements, grooming needs, and a stable to board them.
Also, assets in a Trust have protections from creditors, marital disputes, or bankruptcy. A Trust can ensure the resources are always available for your pet.
If you leave an outright gift of money to a person in exchange for the care of your pet, the money will go to that person’s heirs or beneficiaries at his or her death and may not be available to care for the pet.
Estate Planning for your pet will ensure that your chosen caregiver will have the resources and a care plan accessible to be able to provide proper care and nurture your pet. Without a complete Estate Plan, you are leaving too much to chance.