Can I add my pets to my estate plan?

On Behalf of | Apr 10, 2020 | estate planning

Pet-lovers likely have dreams about growing old with their pets. Our pets are an important part of our lives, and we dread the day that they might leave us. But what about if we leave them first?

Your pets are unusual and deserve to live a comfortable life, even after you pass. If you’re worried about what may happen to your pets in the future, it’s a good idea to have an estate plan ready that outlines what steps to take to ensure your pet’s happiness and safety.

Add your pet to your will

One way to ensure the livelihood of your pet after your death is to add your pet to your will. Include information about who the pet may pass onto, such as a family member or an organization.

This will ensure that your pet is taken care of by someone you trust. If you leave your pet out of your will, your pet may end up in the hands of someone who cannot support them.

Create a trust for your pet

You should remember that you cannot leave property or money in your pet’s name. However, you can create a trust for your pet that includes assets to help your pet’s future caretaker.

For example, your pet trust can name the new owner, include a sum of money that is specifically for the care of your pet, and leave detailed instructions on how to take care of your pet. As trusts are legally binding, the new caretaker must follow the instructions as detailed.

You can also add in the name of someone who has the right to pursue legal action against the caretaker if they do not follow the trust’s guidelines. Trusts such as this typically last for the length of the pet’s life or up to 21 years.

It’s never easy thinking about the future, and the thought of parting from your pet can be extremely emotional. But planning ahead ensures that your pet will continue to have a pleasant life in the future.