People love their pets, and social media has allowed many to take this love obsession to a higher level. Pet lovers are using their pets to create stars on Instagram, support groups on Facebook and photo collages on Pinterest.
Studies have shown people are spending more and more money every year indulging their pets on the finest food, outwear, toys, and other pet gear.
For many of us, our pets have become dear to our hearts and are considered members of the family. However, the law sees them as tangible personal property, no different than your home or automobile, and this is how your pet will be treated upon your passing unless you have a proper plan in place.
Estate Planning for Your Pet
Choose a Responsible Caretaker
Make sure this person truly wants to care for your pet. Discuss your wishes with your chosen caretaker. Offer to help with the cost of the care.
Update Your Will
Leaving a pet to someone in your will is legally binding and establishes your pet’s new owner. However, this named person becomes not only the new pet owner but the beneficiary to the money you left to care for the pet. Be aware they could decide not to care for the pet but they would have continued access to the pet funds. So make sure you choose someone that you know and trust will do their best to follow your request.
Leave Your Pet to a Humane Organization
If you do not have someone who wishes to take on the responsibility of caring for your pet, consider a local or national humane organization that may provide this service. Be sure to check their policies, you may need to make a donation, and they may only house them for a certain period before finding a permanent home.
Establish a Pet Trust
A trust will allow you to appoint both a caregiver to be responsible for the pet’s daily care and a trustee who will manage the funds set aside for the pet’s needs and well-being. You can also make specific wishes about the care for your pet after you pass. Be sure and name a contingent beneficiary and trustee in case your first choice cannot serve in this capacity.
It doesn’t take an excessive amount of money care for a pet, but the critical piece is to create a plan and have it implemented. A trusted estate planning professional can help you with estate planning for your pet. You can relax knowing your beloved furry friend have the continued care that you desire.