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Pet Planning

Pet Planning


Pet Planning

What Will Happen to Your Pet When You’re No Longer Around?

Chili, Spike, fluffy, spike … For many of us there more than just pets. They’re family. And just like family they need to be protected and cared for.

If you are not able to take care of your pet who will? Have you discussed it with anyone? Will that person be able to afford to properly care for your pet? Will they be willing to buy that special food or pay for that medicine?

Thankfully you can ensure that your pets are properly cared for regardless of what happens to you with proper estate planning.

By setting up a pet trust you can set aside money for vet bills special food, medicine, and even simple things like favorite chew toys or bedding. You can also address potential issues. You can also name the caregiver, a person or organization, who will act as your pet’s new caregiver in your absence but does not have the ability to transfer ownership.

The caregiver would be responsible for complying with the care terms that you set out in the pet trust. Failure to do so could result in a new caregiver being appointed.

Obviously you want to give careful consideration when choosing a caregiver and make sure the caregiver is interested in that responsibility. You probably don’t want to have an elderly relative act as care giver for a great Dane puppy. You may also want to consider whether a potential caregiver has allergies, young children, other pets, and enough space for your pet’s needs.

If you have multiple animals you may want to choose a separate caregivers for each. You may also wish to consider paying the caregiver for their efforts.

Just like with your trust, the pet trust would have a trustee responsible for distributing funds to the caretaker and for ensuring that your pets are being cared for in accordance with your wishes. You should have a trustee and one or more successor trustees. Trustees can be individuals that you know or can be professionals.

You should also make arrangements for distributing any funds left over after the death of the pet. It could be the caregiver, relatives, a church, or a charity. You will want to be sure to provide sufficient funds in trust to carry out your wishes.

When setting up your estate plan be sure to ask about protecting your pets just like any other member of the family.

Estate planning is critical to protect the people most important to you and to make sure that your wishes are carried out after you die or become incapacitated.

James Dolenga, JD
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