Estate Planning? Don’t Forget About Your Pets
When thinking about estate planning, you may be worried about who will get your vehicle, house, furniture, or sports memorabilia. But have you thought about your pets?
It’s something to think about, especially if you are terminally ill or of advanced age. Your dog eagerly awaits your arrival from home. Your cat enjoys cuddling with you on the couch. Your pets love you, so ideally you’ll think about what will happen to them should you die unexpectedly. If you’re married, you may simply expect your spouse to care for them, but it’s always good to have a backup plan just in case. Do you have siblings who could care for your animals? Do they know you are counting on them to take care of your beloved pets? What about your parents? Perhaps you are counting on close friends or neighbors to help.
Can You Leave Money to Pets?
You cannot leave money to pets as pets are considered property. Under the law, the property cannot own property, so your dog or cat cannot own money or other assets.
However, you can leave money for your pets. Your pets’ new caretakers will likely need money to care for your furry friend in the best way possible. Food, toys, treats, and vet visits all cost money. Therefore, your estate plan should ensure that your pet’s new owner has the financial resources to provide your pet with everyday necessities. One of the ways this can be accomplished is through estate planning tools such as a pet trust.
What Should You Do?
Deciding on who should care for your pet once you are gone does not necessarily require a legal document. You may have a simple contract signed by you and the possible new owner. You could also have your pet’s care outlined in a will or trust. There are many options available.
However, you do need to ensure that the person you decide to serve as your pets’ new owner is aware of your decision and is willing to do it. Not everyone wants to take on the responsibility of someone else’s pets, especially if they do not have the resources to do so. They may not have the money or they may not even be allowed to have pets. Therefore, when making arrangements for your pets’ care after your death, you need to find a trusted person or organization who is willing to do it.
A skilled estate planning lawyer can help craft a plan that fits your needs. For example, maybe you have three cats that you want to stay together after your death. Or maybe you have multiple pets and would like the caregiver to live on your property and take care of them. There are ways to accomplish these goals.
Contact Us Today
Pets are not the same as children, but you still need to provide for them in the event of your death. Make sure you understand your legal options so you can give your furry and feathered friends a good life even after you die.
Canton estate planning attorney Brian S. Karpe can assist you with your estate planning needs, whether they involve real children or pets. He’ll help you get a plan in place. Schedule a consultation with our office today by calling 860-217-1458.