Do you have a beloved pet like I do? This is a photo of Cookie, my papillon mix. I can’t really remember when she wasn’t around, even though she only showed up in my life in 2009. It’s amazing how they take root in your every day life and make themselves at home. It’s important to have a plans for your pet’s care after your death. Most people haven’t really thought about writing anything down. But when asked, they have definite ideas about what should happen to their fur babies after they’re gone.
If you are in that boat, but you don’t really know your options, here is a short list for getting a plan in place.
1) Include a clause in your will or trust.
Legally, pets are personal property, somewhat like your furniture. The vast majority of pets have no value at all, yet they can be expensive. Including a clause in your will or trust allows you to do two things: 1) Name the person who will “inherit” your pet, and 2) Provide a stipend for the care of the animal for the remainder of his/her life.
2) Create a special pet trust.
A pet trust is a separate legal document. It states how much money is set aside for the care of the pet and names the person who will be trustee. Pet trusts can be a great tool if the person named is not well known to you. A pet trust allows you to name a caretaker for your pet and name another person as trustee of the money. This alleviates concerns that the caretaker would do away with your pet and keep the money.
3) Informal agreement with friends or family members.
Many pet owners have children or grandchildren who have offered to take in your pet at their own expense if the pet outlives you. If that’s the case, you may still consider leaving an extra sum of money to that person in your will or trust to offset future vet bills.
These are 3 plans for your pet’s care after your death. To help the caretaker for your pet, you should leave him or her as much information as possible about your furry friend. For those who are single, it’s wise to keep a card in your billfold or purse with some basic information about your pet at home, especially if your family members live some distance from you.
If you would like more information about planning for your pet’s care after your death, please contact Carla.
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