Estate Planning for Pets

The idea of including pets in an estate plan might raise some eyebrows, but it is an important and growing trend in estate planning law.  Pet owners love their pets and want them to be happy and healthy.  Just like parents of minor children, pet owners should consider what would happen to their pets after death.

A pet trust is an agreement that ensures your pets will be cared for if something happens to you.  Too often, pets suffer after the death of an owner and are left abandoned.  Creating a pet trust with very specific instructions for care and allocating resources is the perfect solution.

When a pet trust is in place, the trustee of the trust makes distributions to a caregiver to cover costs of food, housing, and veterinary visits.  You can get as specific as you want when creating the instructions for care of your pets.  Want gourmet meals for your pouch three times a day?  Does your kitty prefer a specific type of scratching post?  Want to ensure that your horses get regular visits to the vet?  All these things can be arranged through a pet trust.

To make the best plan for your furry friends, there are a few things to consider.  The monthly cost of caring for your pets should be worked out, so that you can set aside enough assets to cover the cost.  You should determine the frequency of veterinary visits and grooming.  And don’t forget to leave instructions for the burial or cremation of your pets.

Designate a trustee and a back-up in case your top pick isn’t available.  Also designate a caregiver and back-up; someone you know would care for your pets the way you want.  Finally, consider that it’s likely that there will be some funds left over after the death of your pet.  Who would you like to be the beneficiary?