Many pet owners want what’s best for their pets, but at the same time, many people forget to put a will in place for them. It may be difficult to think about how pets will go on without their owner, but the fact is that a time could come when someone else needs to provide care for them.
Pet owners can make sure their pets are taken care of through estate planning.
Mentioning Pets in Estate Planning
In addition to other family members, pet owners can include their pets in the estate plan, caring for and providing for them as part of the family.
The law considers pets property like real estate and other possessions, which means that individuals will need to leave them with someone in a trust if ongoing financial care is being provided.
The first step to take when including pets in an estate plan is to consider the budget required for care, including:
- General care
- Veterinary care
It’s important for pet owners to make sure the person they turn their pets over to is someone who is trustworthy. Pet owners can consider who they would trust to care for pets in the event of a personal emergency or even when they go on vacation. Ideally, the person will be a fellow animal lover and already be familiar with the owner’s pets. Pet owners can then approach the individual with the proposal, and inform the person who will be named in a “Power of Attorney.” A POA will only allow a designated individual to care for pets rather than entrusting everything else such as financing to them.
Determining if the Pet Is Worthy of a Trust
Pet owners may want to consider including their pets in a trust, considering a POA remains in effect only if the owner is alive. Creating a trust may be ideal, in which pet owners can include a provision in their will that names individuals who can provide sufficient care for pets following the owner’s passing. Trustees and executors can also designate this person.
The trust can also provide the person caring for these pets with a specific care budget. Pet owners can set up a trust that makes it so the trustee pays the pet care provider with a certain amount when needed.
With a pet trust in place during the estate planning process, pet owners can ultimately ensure their pets receive the care they need in the long-term.