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Can you take care of your pet through an estate plan?

On Behalf of | Oct 12, 2022 | Estate Planning |

Much of the focus in estate planning is on how to distribute wealth once you pass away. But there are a lot of other considerations that can be addressed through the estate planning process. For example, if you have a pet, you might worry about who is going to take care of it once you’re gone. Through sound estate planning, you can properly address this concern.

Should you use a will when addressing your pet in your estate plan?

You can, but there are some risks with taking this approach. For example, if you leave your dog to your brother and also leave your brother $1,000 to care for the pet, your brother is probably going to be able to spend that $1,000 however he sees fit. In other words, there won’t be much of an obligation, other than your expressed wishes, for him to use that money to take care of your dog.

What other options do you have?

Perhaps the best way to provide for your pet after you’re gone is to set up a pet trust. Through this document, you can not only specify who is to care for your pet but you can also set money aside specifically for the care of your pet while also specifying how the pet is to be taken care of by the person to whom you leave the pet. You can also specify in the trust documentation how any leftover money is to be used if the pet passes away before the trust funds are exhausted. This type of estate planning strategy creates a legal obligation for someone to take care of your pet, which is why it may be the best option available to you.

Make sure you know your estate planning options

Regardless of the issues that you’re facing in your estate planning endeavors, you have options. To create the effective estate plan that you need, you have to know about those options and what they can do for you. That’s why you may find it beneficial to discuss your estate plan with an attorney who can help educate and advise you on the matters that you’re facing.



Photo of Jennifer D. Sharpe