How to Handle Pets in an Estate Plan

How to Handle Pets in an Estate Plan

If you have pets, you may be wondering how you can account for them in your estate plan to make sure they’re properly taken care of in the event of your death. You cannot leave any property behind to your pets, because pets cannot legally own property. However, there are ways you can use your estate plan to make sure your pet continues to have a good life after you pass.

Pets as property

For practical purposes, pets are generally considered to be personal property, meaning you can deal with them in your will in much the same way you would with any other item you own. Therefore, you can leave your pet to a specific person you trust to be a loving and capable caretaker. Of course, it’s always a good idea to give your chosen caretaker a heads up and make sure they’re comfortable taking on that responsibility if needed.

Many people also choose to leave behind a certain sum of money to cover expenses associated with caring for the pet, such as costs of food, veterinarian’s bills, toys, doggy daycare and any other such expenses.

Some people choose to go a bit farther with their pet planning by making pet trusts. These trusts ensure a legal obligation exists on the part of your chosen caretaker to care for your pet. A failure to live up to the instructions you leave behind could result in legal action being taken against them. This ensures accountability for the money you leave behind for that caretaker.

For more information about dealing with your pets in your estate plan, contact a knowledgeable Tampa estate planning lawyer at BaumannKangas Estate Law.