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How To Include Pets In Your Estate Plan

Posted by Zach Dana on January 29, 2019

Have you thought about what will happen to your beloved pet after you’re gone? Pets are often considered part of the family, and for that reason it makes sense to include them in your will. This way, you can be certain that your pet will be taken care of after you pass. Even if you’re young and think you don’t need a will or estate plan, it’s a good idea to have one that includes how your pet will be taken care. Otherwise, they may end up at a shelter. Follow these steps to ensure your pet will be ok no matter what happens.

Talk with Friends and Family

Before you add your pet in your will, it’s a good idea to ask around to see who would be willing to take care of your pet. Some friends and family will be happy to do this, while others may not be willing or simply cannot afford to take on the responsibility. The last thing you want to do is to surprise a beneficiary at the reading of your will. Instead, add a beneficiary whom you’ve already spoken with and who agrees to take on your pet in the event of your passing away.

Create a Pet Trust

A pet trust is a legal document that protects your pet after you are gone. For example, if the beneficiary who is responsible for caring for your pets does not meet these responsibilities, a lawsuit can be filed. Another reason for establishing a pet trust is to provide the caretaker with a monthly stipend to help meet financial obligations when caring for your pet. Or you can give the person a lump sum to care for you pet.

Keep Your Will Updated

Change is a part of life.  After you establish your will, a pet may die or you may get more pets. If this happens, it is important to update your will to reflect these changes. There may also need to be changes to your named beneficiary. For example, this person may pass away, move out of the country, or may not be able to care for your pets after all. This means you’ll need to update your will and assign a new beneficiary.  It’s also a good idea to have an alternate beneficiary named – just in case.

For more information on adding your pet’s care in you will or estate plan, contact The Dana Law Group today at 1-800-381-8132.