Is Your Pet Included In Your Estate Plan?

September 22, 2011

Making sure that your assets are properly prepared for distribution to your loved ones after your passing can be an involved matter. Because there's so much to take into consideration it is easy to look past some of the finer details. If you are a pet owner, making sure that your dog or cat is provided for after your passing may be one of these matters that gets lost in the shuffle. You may just assume that it is something that will take care of itself, or that you will outlive your pet. While it is possible that someone would simply step forward and care for the pet or that you will outlive it, it is best to make the appropriate arrangements "just in case."
It should be mentioned that pet ownership can be very beneficial for senior citizens. Many of our elders get lonely, and of course a dog or cat can be your best friend and provide some much-needed companionship. When you are retired and your children and grandchildren are no longer directly depending on you, you can be hard-pressed to find a sense of purpose. Caring for a pet can provide this life-affirming feeling. In addition, some types of pets can provide protection, even if it is simply by barking to alert its owner of unusual sounds coming from outside the residence.
To provide for your pet after your passing you must first identify a suitable caretaker. You may simply want to ask a family member or friend that you would consider to be a likely candidate. You then must make financial arrangements, and this can be done by simply leaving a bequest to the caretaker in your will. Another option would be to create a pet trust that will finance the care of your pet throughout its life.
To find out more about pet planning and pet trusts, simply arrange for an initial consultation with an experienced estate planning attorney.

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