Do you treat your pet like family? You may be wondering if there is a way for you to care for your pet, even when you die. The good news is you can incorporate your furry friends into your estate planning. If you want to learn more about estate planning for your pet, read on.
1. Choose a new pet owner.
- Make sure that you choose someone who is able to care for you pet. Discuss this with him or her ahead of time.
- Include provisions for new pet ownership in your will or trust.
- Consider designating a no-kill animal sanctuary as either a primary or contingent caretaker for your animal in case there is no individual who is willing or able to provide care for your pet.
- If you do not choose a new owner, your pet will be given to the residuary beneficiary in your will. (The person who is given everything that is not inherited by the rest of the will). If you do not have a will, your next of kin will be given your pet.
2. Leave money to the new owner.
- You may want to leave money to pay for your pet’s care.
- If your pet is no longer alive when you die, the money that you leave will pass with the residuary of your estate.
3. Leave your pet to one person, and money for your pet’s care to another person.
- This is a good idea if the person who will care for you pet receives public assistance. Leaving this person money may make them ineligible for public assistance.
- This is also a good idea if you do not think the new pet owner is financially responsible.
4. Set up a pet trust
- Some states, including California, allow you to set up a “pet trust” which allows you to leave property for the benefit of your pet.
- In this situation, you name a “trustee” who is responsible for managing that money.
- Your trustee will follow your rules and instructions when spending the money.
- A benefit to a pet trust is the fact that it becomes active even if you are ill and unable to care for your pet.
If you love your pet and always want to provide for your furry friend, consider incorporating your pet into your estate planning. If you have questions about estate planning for your pet, consult with a qualified and experienced estate planning attorney.
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