Estate plans are meant to ensure a smooth transition for loved ones after a death. Those loved ones, however, may also include a beloved pet. There is quite a bit of comfort to be found in making arrangements that ensure your pet will be cared for when you are no longer able to do so. Read on for some ideas on making your pet part of your estate plan.
Don't Make Assumptions
When it comes to caring for those you leave behind, don't make the assumption that someone will step in and take care of Fido or Sparky. Pets can sometimes end up in shelters when those you assumed would help do not follow through. It's better to make planning for your pet part of your estate plans so that there is no uncertainty about your wishes after you have passed away.
Set Up a Fund for Them
Pet owners already know how expensive it can be to care for pets. Veterinarian bills, food, and other supply costs can add up. If you want to ensure your pet gets the best care, you will need to fund things. You can set up a trust, for example, that is meant to go to a lifetime of pet expenses. Begin by adding up how much you have been spending for them on a yearly basis and multiply that by several years.
Appoint a Caregiver for Your Pet
Next, consider who you would like to be a caregiver for your pet when you can no longer do it. Be sure you ask any potential caregivers and get their permission before you name them in the trust or will. Also, choose at least two more caregivers to take over if your first choice is unable to do so. You never know when illness or other issues could prevent your first choice from caring for your pet. Another good idea is to revisit your estate plans concerning your pets (and everything else) every year or so and make changes as needed.
Using a Pet Trust
It's advisable to set up a special trust just for your pet's care. These trusts are legally binding instruments that the creator funds before their death. An administrator should be chosen by the creator (or grantor) known as a trustee and the trustee oversees the trust. The trustee provides the named caregiver with funds to care for the pet in a manner set forth by the creator of the trust.
Speak to an estate planning attorney to find out more about creating a plan to cover your pet after you pass away.