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Including your pet in your estate plan

On Behalf of | Mar 31, 2023 | Estate Planning & Probate |

Undoubtedly, animals are a significant part of many people’s lives. Whether it’s a dog or cat, both or multiple pets, an animal can quickly become a man’s (or woman’s) best friend.

When preparing a will or thinking about your estate plan, you might wonder what would happen to your pet should you pass before them. While it is not a pleasant thought, it is critical that you plan ahead to ensure that your pet ends up in good hands.

Fortunately, you can include your pet(s) in your estate plan and ensure they are cared for when you are no longer able to do so. Tips for pet owners who would like to include their pets in their estate plan include:

  1. Determining the cost of care and the type of care you want your pet to receive. Create a list of your choice of veterinarians, food preferences, medications, grooming and any other pet needs.
  2. Asking an individual you trust if they are willing to serve as trustee and caretaker of your pet. Once you have found the trustee who will oversee your pet’s care and finances, put it in writing as a request in your will.
  3. Considering compensating your trustee somehow and include that in writing in your will. Caring for and overseeing all matters related to an animal can be time-consuming, especially as the animal grows older. Many people find that compensating the trustee is appropriate and fair.

When considering your estate plan, maybe your pets are not be the first thing you think about. However, as you begin thinking about the distribution of your assets and who your beneficiaries will be, you may include a pet. In that case, make sure that you make your wishes known in writing in your will and that you choose a trusted individual to provide care for your animal companion.