Pet owners would do anything to keep their furry friends safe and cared for. However, they often forget to do this in their estate plan.
Adding provisions for your pet in your will is a responsible way to make sure your animal receives the care they need in case tragedy strikes. Here are the three questions to consider when deciding what to include in yours.
1. Who will care for my animal?
Choosing which of your beneficiaries should inherit your pet can help ensure your pet’s future is in good hands. To make sure this person is up for the task, ask your family member or friend ahead of time if they would be willing to adopt and care for your pet if something should happen to you. It’s also a good idea to ask multiple people to serve as backup in case your first choice becomes unable to take on the responsibility.
2. How can I ensure my pet gets the best care?
In your will, you can include caregiving instructions to the person who inherits your animal, such as their food and exercise regimen as well as any medical attention they require. You can also leave a sum of money for your beneficiary so they can pay for food, grooming and medical expenses.
However, if you’re looking to have absolute control in the care your animal receives, you can set up a trust that puts sanctions on how designated funds are spent.
3. Can my caregiver afford my pet?
Setting up a pet trust is a way for you to distribute the money you leave for your pet in increments over time. Trusts can be helpful for several reasons. A trust ensures that your money goes directly to the care of your pet. Also, pet trusts can help the person who inherits your pet manage the expenses. Even if they experience a change in their financial situation, a trust is a secure method of helping your beneficiary provide support and care for your pet.
Different types of trust offer different benefits for your pet. Discussing these options with an estate planning attorney can help you decide which will work best for your pet.