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Why You Need to Include Your Pet When Creating Your Estate Plan

Pets

When you start thinking of creating an estate plan, you may typically think about your financial accounts, physical property, and your family members such as your children and spouse. However, one of the things that is often forgotten is your beloved pets.

Failing to plan for your pet’s future care could leave them in a dire situation, especially if you don’t have a family member or close friend who wants to take on the care of your furry friend. This could result in your pet being afraid and alone in an animal shelter, or even worse, euthanized. So, what exactly can you do if you want to include Fido or Fluffy in an estate plan?

  1. Leave your pet with a trusted friend or family member. This is probably the easiest option to ensure that your pet is well taken care of after your death. It is simple to add your pet into your will and can ensure your pet’s well-being. You can leave specific care instructions and health information for your pet’s caregiver, so you will have peace of mind knowing they have a loving home if you die before they do.
  2. Leave your pet to a no-kill shelter or a specific individual with a specified amount of money. What if your friends or family members are concerned about taking care of your pet? Are they concerned about the financial obligation of caring for your furry friend? If that is the case, you can provide a specific amount of money to be given to them that is to be used to offset that financial obligation. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to ensure that the money will be used specifically for your pet’s care. What if your family or friends won’t take your pet for other reasons? You may be able to send your pet to a no-kill shelter, especially if your pet is older. However, this can become a burden for the shelter financially. To ensure your pet has a lifetime of care, you can include a monetary donation to the shelter in exchange for their love and care of your pet.
  3. Establish a trust for your furry friend. When you think of trusts for animals, you may picture a person leaving behind millions of dollars to their pet. However, you don’t have to be wealthy to have a pet trust. The benefit of having a pet trust is the court system will ensure that money that you set aside for your pet is specifically being used for their care. After the death of your pet, the money remaining in the trust account will be distributed to whoever you choose as the beneficiary.

Regardless of the method you choose for the care of your pet after you are gone, be sure that you share your thoughts and plans with your estate planning attorney. While some attorneys may ask you what your plans for your pets are, if they don’t, and you want to ensure that your pet is taken care of, be sure to bring it up yourself.

Tampa attorney David Toback can help you prepare the future of your estate, and the future of your pets as well. He has years of experience helping his clients ensure that their future wishes are carried out in a manner that they choose. Contact his office today to schedule a consultation.

Resources:

miami.cbslocal.com/top-lists/top-pet-rescue-shelters-in-south-florida/

leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0700-0799/0736/Sections/0736.0408.html

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