Provide for Your Pets in Your Estate Plan
Most pet owners consider their pets a member of the family. To ensure that your pet is cared for after you pass away, you can leave funds specifically for the care of your pet.
There are several ways you can provide for your pet’s care. Here are some pros and cons of each:
Non-legal arrangements: You can always make a non-legal agreement with your desired caretaker. For instance, your best friend may agree to take your dog in the event of your passing. This saves you the trouble of updating your estate planning documents each time you get a new pet, or one predeceases you. However, the agreement may not be legally enforceable.
Wills: You can devise your pet and the funds for their care to a caretaker. Your beneficiary is not obligated to use those funds for your pet, even if you use language like “$2,000 to John Smith in the hopes that he will use this for Fluffy’s care,” and there is not much oversight in such instance. You should always consider appointing a backup caretaker, in the event the proposed caretaker predeceases you or ultimately refuses to care for your pet.
Trusts: Trusts provide a legal obligation to care for the pet and use the money as directed. However, administration costs for a pet trust can be expensive.
Animal welfare organizations: Finally, some animal welfare organizations and vet schools will find a caretaker for your pet if you die. This is a good option if you don’t know anyone who can care for your animal.
The experienced estate planning lawyers at BaumannKangas Estate Law can help you plan for your pet’s care. Call our Tampa office today.