Don't Forget Your Pet

December 17, 2010

When you are working through your estate planning checklist you may have a lot of ground to cover depending on the size of your estate and the specificity of your wishes. And as we always remind our clients, estate planning is not something that you take care of in a day, a week, or a month. It is an ongoing process that is going to require adjustments because there are changes all around us. Our own lives change, tax laws are subject to revision, interest rates are always fluctuating, and the economy as a whole is largely unpredictable.

We mentioned a checklist in the opening because with so much to consider it would be easy to forget something, and your fine furry friend just might fall through the cracks. Just as your stocks, bonds, cash, real property, and prized possessions are going to need a new home when you pass away, your pet is going to need one too.
Our pets become members of the family and they can really provide senior citizens with a tremendous boost as companions, protectors, and in many cases, master entertainers. The good news is that you may not have to look too far to find a new owner for your pet. You may well have a family member or friend who lets you know that he or she would be more than glad to take care of your dog or cat when you pass away.If you have no volunteers, you can ask around, and when you find a caretaker it is a good idea to make sure that your pet and its future guardian get to know one another so that the transition won't be as hard on the animal. To cover the expenses you can leave a bequest to the new owner-to-be if you so choose.

Another option is to create a pet trust to provide for your dog or cat. You fund the trust, name a trustee to administer it, and select a caretaker for the pet. It is also sometimes possible to develop a relationship with a non-profit animal placement facility and arrange for the people there to find your pet a home while you make a donation in return to show your appreciation. For some valuable information on pet trusts and pet planning in general visit our page on page pet planning.

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