In the past people gave little thought to what might happen to their pets after they passed away. It certainly was not common to provide ways for pets to continue receiving care in estate plans.
Today, however, 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.
If you would like more information about providing for your pet after you pass away, speak with a Cincinnati estate planning attorney about the above options.
Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When making your estate plans or when probating an estate or administering a trust, do not go it alone. Be sure to engage a Cincinnati estate planning attorney.
For more information about estate planning, probate or trust administration in Cincinnati (and throughout the rest of Southwest Ohio) and to review free resources regarding estate planning, probate or trust administration, visit my website. If you have questions regarding this article or a particular legal matter, feel free to contact me at 513-399-PLAN (7526).
Reference: Time (Nov. 18, 2015) "How to Make Sure Your Pet Is Cared for When You Die."