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Should you include your pets in the terms of your estate plan?

On Behalf of | Aug 21, 2023 | ESTATE PLANNING - Estate Administration & Probate

For many families, animals are beloved and cared for as if they were a member of the family. In some cases, pets may outlive their owners, and it is important to address what could happen if the pet doesn’t have someone to care for it, pay for its needs and ensure that it remains in a safe environment. For these reasons and many others, you may choose to include your pet in the terms of your estate plan.

If you own a pet, it could be reasonable to address the care of your pet in the documents you are creating. While in your eyes a pet is not an object, estate planning laws may view a pet as personal property. This means that, without specific instructions in your plan, impersonal state laws and other factors could determine what happens to your pets after you pass away.

The long-term care of your pets

It is not a pleasant thought to consider your own mortality, and it is not easy to think about what could happen to your animals if you are no longer around to care for them. By creating an estate plan that addresses these issues, you can have peace of mind knowing that their interests are secure long into the future. One way that you can ensure the care of your pets and their financial provision for years to come is through the establishment of a pet trust.

A trust allows you to set aside and designate assets for a specific use. This may be especially useful if your pet has specific needs, you want to keep your animals together or you want your family to have the financial resources to continue to care for your pets. Besides a trust, there are other ways you can decide who will keep your pet and the provision of the pet’s daily needs.

Building a strong estate plan

Not everyone needs a pet trust as part of their estate plan, but this could be a useful way for you to establish the protections you need for peace of mind. Through a pet trust, you can ensure that your much-loved animals will have what they need for the duration of their lives and that your family members can provide for their care.