Part 6: Family Pets

We know you love your pets and want to ensure your four-legged family members aren’t overlooked.  When it comes to pets, the law considers them to be tangible, personal property.  This sounds a bit cold and insensitive, which is why planning for your pets should be included in your overall estate plan.  Most folks treat their pets like children and spend money on them just like any other member of the family, so it’s important to put the same amount of thought into who you would like to care for your pets when the time comes.   

One of the first steps is to name a Power of Attorney in case you become incapacitated, as well as a caregiver.  It’s helpful to name a back-up as well.  Caring for a pet, or pets, won’t work for everyone, so it’s good to know who could handle the responsibility and love your pet the way you’d want.  Talk to the people you’re considering and ensure this is something they’re in agreement with.  If you don’t have a family member or friend to appoint as a caregiver, there are many care centers across the country that are able to help provide care for your pet as well.  Know that you can also give your executor or trustee the ability to name a caregiver, if needed.

It takes money to provide care for a pet and some pets require more maintenance than others.  One way to leave funds to cover the cost of care for your pet is through a pet trust.  By creating a basic budget for your pet, you can determine how much you’d need and want to leave for their care.  Creating a pet trust not only ensures your pet will have necessary funds to provide it a good future, but it also ensures the person you want gets your pet.  While it’s possible to name your desired caregiver in your Will, it still has to go through probate, whereas a pet trust allows you to skip this step.

The attached checklist is designed to help give your pet’s future Power of Attorney and caregiver all the information they need to properly care for and love your pet.

Please read important disclosure here.