Providing For Your Pets

Nov 10, 2010

Estate planning brings some challenges along with it, but receptivity to generosity is not one of them. You will rarely have any trouble finding people who are willing to assume ownership of stocks and other securities, real property, cash, and valuable commodities. This comes as no surprise, but the fact is that you may actually find it hard to find a suitable home for certain prized possessions. Foremost among these would be your household pets.

There are a couple of different ways that the matter of pet care can be addressed in your estate plan. One approach is to name a caretaker for the pet or pets in your will or trust. You obviously would want to discuss the matter with family members and friends who may be a good fit and get their approval. The caregiver is usually given a bequest from the estate to cover the expenses associated with caring for the pet. If you simply do not know anyone who would be a suitable caregiver, you can charge the personal representative or successor trustee of your estate with the task of finding a home for the pet.

Another estate planning vehicle that can be used to provide for the care of your pet after your passing or in the event of your incapacitation would be a pet trust. You fund the trust with resources that are sufficient to provide for the animal’s care for the rest of its life. You then name a caregiver to provide shelter and tend to the pet’s needs, as well as a trustee who is responsible for administering the trust and making sure that the pet is receiving proper treatment.

Our pets are our best friends and considering how loyal they are they will surely miss you when you’re gone. For this reason the ideal course of action is to foster a relationship between your pet and its future caregiver over time to pave the way for a reasonably smooth transition.

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