Many people consider their pets part of their family and while you may not think of pets when drafting your estate plans, you may want to discuss with your attorney if designating plans for your pets is something you should address. Here are some questions you may have regarding estate planning and pets.
Why Do I Need a Plan for My Pets?
If you are single and have pets, it is best for your pets if you have a plan in the event you become incapacitated or pass away. Tragically, thousands of pets end up in shelters because something has happened to their owners and there is no one to take care of them.
While you may assume that members of your extended family or friends may step up and take care of your pet, the reality is that many of these pets are surrendered by the owner’s family or friends, for a variety of reasons. This is why it is important to have a solid plan in place, including having a frank discussion with the person or persons you choose as the ones who will take care of your pet when you pass.
Is that person able to take care of your pet? Do they have the room? Do they have enough experience with animals and know how to take care of your pet? These are all questions that you should consider when choosing who your pet’s caretaker will be.
You may also want to consider naming a secondary caregiver for your pet in the event the primary caregiver is no longer able to do so. Your attorney can also help draft documentation for that scenario.
Who Will Be Financially Responsible for Your Pet?
Not only do you need to consider who will provide the happiest and healthiest environment for you furry friend, but you also need to consider if that person will be able to provide financially for your pet. Pets can be expensive, especially if they become sick and need medical care.
This is why many pet owners are setting up pet trusts in order to make sure that the financial resources are also available to ensure their pet is well provided for. Your estate planning attorney can assist you in setting up that trust and to make sure that everything is set up in such a way that the funds are specifically used only for your pet. You determine how the funds should be distributed to the caregiver.
Since you will be setting up a trust, you will need to name a trustee. It may be helpful to have another party than the person who will be taking care of your pet as the trustee and require the trustee conduct periodic inspections to check to make sure your pet is being well taken care of.
Your estate planning attorney can also help you name a beneficiary of the trust in the event that your pet dies and there are still funds remaining. Work with an experienced attorney such as the estate planning lawyer Sacramento CA locals turn trust to help you with your trust today!
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Yee Law Group for their insight into Estate Planning.