While estate planning typically deals with how to divide your estate between your human family, you may want to take some time to consider how to care for your pets in the event that something happens to you. Your estate planning attorney can help you to make sure your arrangements include your pet, but you should consider familiarizing yourself with some of the basics for estate planning and pets. Here are three things to keep in mind as you prepare your estate.
You can arrange to have assets put in a pet trust to ensure the long-term needs of your pet are covered. To create a trust, you'll appoint a trustee who will manage the trust and ensure your pet is being cared for properly. Your trustee may find a person to care for your pets, or you can let the trustee know who will be caring for your pets once you are gone. The trustee may check on the caregiver for your pets from time to time to make sure the funds are being spent appropriately. He or she will also help to administer any final plans you made for your pets after they pass away.
You may also bequeath a certain amount of money to go to your pets in the event of your death in your will. To make the process of managing the estate easier, designate the person you wish to care for your pets as the beneficiary with the stipulation that the money should go toward your pets' care. This may be a better option than a trust if you are only allocating a small amount of money to care for your animals. If you are leaving your entire estate to one person, be sure to state how much money you wish to go toward your beloved furry friends.
Naming A Caretaker
If another member of your household, such as a spouse or child, will be the caretaker, you may simply need to make informal arrangements to ensure your pets' care. This might include changing the name on your pets' microchip account or changing the contact information on their collar tags. You can simply tell the executor of your estate who will care for them so there is no confusion when the estate is being divided.
No matter which option you choose, be sure to make arrangements for your pets' care after you are gone. Your animals may have a difficult time coping without you, and making sure your furry friends have trusted caretakers and enough money to pay for their needs will help them to live well. Be sure to check with your estate planning attorney--like one from Wright Law Offices, PLLC-- to make sure you have everything covered for your pets when you are gone.