Estate planning is a process that involves making arrangements for how an individual’s assets will be distributed and responsibilities fulfilled after their death. While much of estate planning tends to focus on financial assets, real estate and care for dependent children or adults, making pet provisions is another crucial factor often overlooked.
When addressing estate planning, pet owners must consider that pets are legally thought of as personal property and can’t directly inherit assets or property. Pets also have unique needs and require care, which is something that should be considered in the estate planning process.
Including your pet in your will
In estate planning, the simplest way to provide for a pet is to include them in your will. You can leave your pet to a trusted individual, along with funds intended for the pet’s care.
Although leaving a pet in a will may seem straightforward, there can be a gap between the time of the owner’s death and the will’s execution. It is essential to have a contingency plan in place to care for the pet during this interim period.
Setting up a pet trust
Setting up a pet trust may be the best course of action for those seeking a more comprehensive option. A pet trust is a legal arrangement providing for the care and maintenance of one or more pets in the event of the owner’s disability or death. The trust can dictate the type of care the pet should receive, specify a caretaker and set aside funds for the pet’s needs.
The advantage of a pet trust over a will is that it becomes effective immediately upon the owner’s death or if the owner becomes incapacitated. Also, because a trustee oversees a trust, the pet owner has more assurance that the pet will be cared for as instructed.
Pets are beloved members of many families, so their inclusion in estate planning is not only wise but also a reflection of the love and care their owners hold for them. By making plans for pets, pet owners can ensure they continue receiving the love and care they deserve even when their owners can no longer provide it.