When people begin thinking of their estate plan, they often take into consideration their physical property, their financial accounts, and family members such as their spouse and children. But one thing that they often forget about is their beloved pets.
Failure to plan for the future care of your pets can leave them in a dire situation, especially if your family does not want to inherit your favorite furry friend. This could leave your pet alone and afraid in a shelter, or worse yet, euthanized. So, what are your options if you want to include Fluffy or Fido in your estate plan?
1. Leave Your Pet With a Family Member or Trusted Friend
This is likely the easiest option to ensure your pet’s well-being. It is simple to add a provision for your pet into your will. You can ensure that your pet will be well taken care of and even give your family or friends the necessary health information and care instructions. This will also give you peace of mind that your pet has a loving home if you die before they do.
2. Leave Your Pet to a Specific Individual or No-Kill Shelter Along with a Specified Amount of Money
What are you supposed to do if your family members or friends have concerns about taking care of your pet? Maybe they are worried about the financial commitment of taking care of an animal. If that is the case, you can offer a specific sum of money to be given to them that is meant to offset that cost. However, you cannot ensure that your pet’s care is exactly how the money will be used.
What if your family and friends cannot take your pet for other reasons? Sending your pet to a no-kill shelter can be a concern for the shelter, especially if your pet is older. However, if you include a donation to the shelter for their care, they will likely be able to provide a lifetime of care in exchange for the monetary donation.
3. Establish a Trust for Your Pet
When you think of pet trusts, you may picture someone leaving behind millions of dollars to their pet. However, you do not have to be wealthy to utilize a pet trust, and you can use one to set aside any amount of money that you feel would be needed to care for your pet. The benefit to this method is that the court can ensure that the trustee is using the money you have placed in the trust specifically for your pet’s care. After the death of your pet, the money remaining in the trust will be distributed to whoever you choose as the beneficiary.
Contact Us Today for Help
Whatever method you choose for the future care of your pet, be sure to share your plans with your estate planning attorney. While some attorneys may ask without prompting, if they do not, and you want to ensure the future well-being of Fluffy or Fido, be sure to bring it up yourself.
The skilled DuPage County estate planning attorneys at Momkus LLC can help you prepare for the future of your estate, and for the future of your pets as well. We have decades of experience helping our clients ensure that their final wishes are carried out in the manner of their choosing. Call us today at 630-434-0400 to schedule a consultation.