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What will happen to your pet when you pass away? Who will care for them? What if that person is not able or willing to dedicate the time or financial resources to the care of your pet? For many people, the animals in their lives are almost like members of the family. As such, it is important to address their needs in your estate plan. For example:
- The law treats animals as property, not people, so a will does not allow you to specify requirements for care. Animals also can’t wait for the probate process to be completed; the need to care for them is immediate.
- If you have a trust that does not include a section for animal care, the trust can be amended or a separate, stand-alone trust can be created to address the ownership and ongoing care of your animals.
- Typically, the animal will be owned by the trust when you pass away, not by an individual. This allows any remaining assets dedicated to the care of the animals to pass to remainder beneficiaries when the animals pass away.
- You should discuss care of your animals with any caretakers and/or successor trustees you name. You may also want to appoint a trust protector to ensure that the trustees are taking proper care of your animals.
- Different types of animals will need different provisions. Some animals live a very long time. Others have special care requirements and/or liability issues.
E-book: "Estate Planning For The Modern Family"
The average family today faces different needs than they did before. Changing laws, high divorce rates, and immigration concerns cause new and serious considerations for families planning their estates. Whether it's planning for pets, partners, or past relationships, our new E-Book, "Estate Planning for the Modern Family" has answers and strategies to make sure there will be no surprises when emergencies hit and avoid fallout for the family afterwards.