While it has not been a common practice to include the care of your pet in an estate plan, more and more people are giving thought to what might happen to them after they pass on.
Pets are increasingly being viewed as important family members that need to be provided for in estate plans along with human relatives.
Time recently published an article on this phenomenon entitled "How to Make Sure Your Pet Is Cared for When You Die."
The article mentions three ways to provide for a pet in your estate plan:
- Will Beneficiary – In your will you can name someone to inherit your pet and leave them money to care for the animal. This can be a little problematic as there is no way to guarantee that the person will use the funds to care for your pet, so only do this if you are certain the person will love your pet as much as you do.
- Will Trust – You can create a trust in your will and leave funds for the trust to care for your pet. In every state except Minnesota this will create a trust. A probate court will designate a trustee and caretaker for your pet to see that your pet is cared for.
- Traditional Trust – You can create a trust and fund it with the assets necessary for your pet's care. It is common to appoint as trustee the person who will also be the pet's caregiver, but it is not necessary.
These options may be helpful should you decide to speak with an estate planning attorney about providing for their care after you pass away.
Reference: Time (Nov. 18, 2015) "How to Make Sure Your Pet Is Cared for When You Die."